Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Apple Dessert Wontons

These taste like mini apple pies but are a lot friendlier to the waistline!


12 wonton wrappers, (I used Wing Hing- very thin and low calorie)
3 cups chopped apple (Gala, Fuji, Pink Lady works well)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
ICB or 1 tablespoon light margarine
Fat free caramel sauce (such as Smuckers), optional for serving
Non fat frozen yogurt or cool whip, optional for serving


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a large pan or skillet with ICB or coat with 1 tablespoon margarine on medium heat. Add the apples and sauté until slightly tender, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the brown sugar and cinnamon and heat for another 30 seconds until dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside in a dish. Meanwhile take out the wonton wrappers and lay them out on a cutting board or clean surface. Spoon one heaping tablespoon of the mixture onto one side of the wrapper, wet all the edges with water (using your fingers), fold over the wrapper to make a triangle and pinch close all along the edges. Place on a baking sheet and spray a few times with ICB and bake for 10 minutes. Flip the wontons over and bake for another 10 minutes until crispy. Serve with caramel sauce and non fat frozen yogurt or whipped topping.

Makes 12 wontons, 12 servings

Serving size 1 wonton: Calories 50 protein 1 g Carb 12 g Fiber 1 g Sugars 7 g Fat 0 g Saturated fat 0 g Sodium 50 mg


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Quick Slaw

Not your average coleslaw- sweet and sour with tons of crunch.

2 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
1 medium apple (gala, fuji), peeled, and cut into thin strips (match stick like)
3 tablespoons dried cranberries
½ cup low fat buttermilk
2 tablespoons light mayo (*use a gluten-free brand such as Best Foods if you are on a gluten-free diet)
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons rice vinegar

Toss the cabbage, carrots, apple and cranberries in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, mayo, sugar and rice vinegar and then pour the dressing over the slaw, mixing well until evenly coated. Chill and serve.
Makes 3 cups, six servings

Serving size: ½ cup Calories 70 Protein 2 g Carb 14 g Fiber 2 g Sugars10 g Fat 2 g Saturated fat 0 g Sodium 115 mg


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Alert! California Pizza Kitchen = Caloric Pizza Kitchen

Yesterday I came across the nutritional information posted online for one of my favorite restaurants, California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) and was shocked! In response to the California menu labeling bill (SB 1420) CPK and other fast-food and other chain restaurants having 20 or more outlets have to post their nutritional information The bill goes into full effect in 2011 but between now and then restaurant chains will be required to make brochures with nutrition information available in their restaurants. You can check out CPK’s stunning figures, that are certainly not very good for your figure HERE.

Being a fairly frequent patron of CPK, I was very interested to see the nutrition facts on their menu, unfortunately they don’t list all the nutrition facts and are only are posting calories on what I found, but boy are there plenty of them. My “usual”, the grilled vegetable salad with chicken has 1200 calories! And sadly most of the salads are over 1000 calories- that’s at least half if not more than what one’s average total daily caloric intake should be AND around the same amount of calories as many of their pizzas. Quite a few of the pastas dishes were topping the charts at 1300-1700 calories. Start with one of their appetizers and you can tack on 300-1000 calories to your meal. And if you finish off with one of their desserts you can easily double your caloric intake by adding another 700-1500 calories depending on the selection you make.

Does this mean I will never go back to CPK? Of course not! But what should you do if you must have your CPK? If you need an appetizer to start, the soups are not too bad, having a cup would only set you back 100-200 calories (except for the Adobe Chicken Chowder which is loaded). And then the key to the entrees is portion control. Go for a half order or take the rest home. Request dressings and sauces on the side as well. Ordering thin crust pizza will save some calories and one of the best entrees is the Mahi Mahi with vegetables (instead of pasta) which is a fairly reasonable 560 calories. If you ask for light on the oil in preparation, that can help too. And it’s best skip dessert there-try fruit or fat free yogurt at home instead. For more tips on healthy dining out, click HERE.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Summer Vegetable Stew

There are literally a dozen different veggies in this stew and many of them are from the summer season. Italian sausage and kidney beans add a nice compliment to this light but satisfying stew.


1-2 cloves of garlic, diced
I cup chopped white onion
1 cup chopped or shredded carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped turkey or chicken sausage (*use a gluten-free brand such as Trader Joes or Applegate Farms if you are on a gluten-free diet)
1 cup chopped zucchini
1 cup chopped yellow squash
1 cup chopped green beans
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 cup chopped broccoli florets
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup chopped canned artichokes
½ cup cooked kidney beans, rinsed well
½ cup corn (fresh, canned, or frozen-thawed)
One 14 ounce can of tomatoes
One 14 ounce can chicken or vegetable broth (*use a gluten-free brand such as Progresso Natural if you are on a gluten-free diet)
Chopped black olives (optional, for garnish)
Chopped fresh basil (optional, for garnish)
Parmesan cheese (optional, for garnish, *use a gluten-free brand such as Trader Joes if you are on a gluten-free diet)
ICB spray or olive oil using olive oil sprayer (if both n/a use a teaspoon of olive oil)


Put the chopped sausage, garlic, onions, carrots and celery into large sized pot sprayed with ICB or olive oil sprayer (or 1 teaspoon olive oil) and sauté until just before tender (about 5-10 minutes). Put in the rest of the veggies, broth, canned tomatoes and beans in and bring to a light boil. Reduce to low heat and simmer until the veggies are tender, about 25-30 minutes.


If you are watching your sodium you can use low sodium broth and tomatoes in place of regular

Not a fan of one of the veggies in the recipe? Then double any of the existing or sub in a cup or two of another such as cauliflower, eggplant, spinach etc.

If you want to keep this completely vegetarian sub in a cup of veggie sausage or add another cup of beans.

Labels: entrees, soupse

Makes 7 cups, seven servings

Serving size: 1 cup Calories 140 Protein 7 g Carb 19 g Fiber 5 g Sugars 7 g Fat 3.5 g Saturated fat <1 g Sodium 680 mg


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Warm Carrot Raisin Salad

Serving this dish warm adds a new dimension to the ever popular carrot raisin salad. You can eat leftovers of it cold too, of course.


2 1/2 cups shredded or matchstick carrots
2 tablespoons juice of fresh orange
2 tablespoons currants or raisins
1 teaspoon honey
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
ICB spray or olive oil using olive oil sprayer (if both n/a use a teaspoon of olive oil)
Salt to taste (optional)


Spray a small to medium sized pan with ICB or an olive oil sprayer or drizzle very lightly with a teaspoon olive oil and put on medium heat. Add the carrots and sauté 3-5 minutes until lightly browned. In a small bowl mix the orange juice, honey and cinnamon and pour over the carrots. Add the raisins too and cook for another few minutes and then serve. If you want to balance out the sweet flavor a bit, add salt to taste.

Makes 2 ½ cups, 5 servings

Serving size: ½ cup Calories 50 Protein 1 g Carb 10 g Fiber 2 g Sugars 7 g Fat 1 g Saturated fat 0 g Sodium 40 mg


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Chewy Oat Raisin Cookies

These cookies have chewy goodness and just the right amount of sweetness. Great for a snack, dessert even breakfast…..


1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 ½ cups oats (quick or regular)
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup brown sugar
1 egg or ¼ cup egg substitute
¼ cup margarine
½ cup applesauce
¾ cup raisins
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, oats, and baking soda in a small to medium bowl. In a larger bowl, mix the brown sugar, egg, margarine, applesauce, cinnamon and vanilla. Slowly start adding the flour mixture to the larger bowl with the egg/sugar mixture until a soft thick dough is formed. Stir in the raisins and drop the cookie dough in rounded spoonfuls (or use a small ice cream scooper) onto a baking sheet to make 24 cookies. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Makes 2 dozen cookies
Serving size: 1 cookie Calories 97 Protein 2 g Carb 18 g Fiber 1 g Sugars 11 g Fat 2 g saturated fat <1 g Sodium 76 mg


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The BAD/BETTER/BEST of Foods Challenge Post # 5


BAD - whole milk yogurt and low fat flavored yogurt (BAD-ish’ – non fat flavored yogurt)

Yogurt is a great source of the mineral calcium, which helps build strong bones and teeth. It also contains “live active cultures”- living organisms such as Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, which change pasteurized milk to yogurt during fermentation. In addition, some yogurts contain Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidus cultures as well. These live active cultures are a hot topic in health research and show promising results in helping digestive function, boosting immunity, preventing osteoporosis and fighting cancer. But unfortunately if you choose whole milk yogurt, a lot of fat comes along with it, as much as 8-10 grams per cup, and more than 60 percent of that is saturated fat- the bad kind that is linked to heart disease. Not to mention, there are a lot of calories too, at least 200 per cup, if not more, depending if it is flavored or not. Speaking of flavored yogurt, if you grab one of those, whether it is whole or even low/non fat, you still get a yogurt packed with sugar, which also ups the calories and carbs. Most have an average of 30 or more grams of sugar per cup, equivalent to 8 teaspoons and the source is often high fructose corn syrup.

BETTER- non fat plain yogurt or “light” flavored yogurt

Pick up plain non fat plain yogurt and you can take advantage of its benefits like getting 30 percent of the daily value of calcium and live active cultures but at the cost of only about 100 calories and zero fat per cup. Protein content is decent too, with 7-12 grams per serving on average. Like some flavor? Then add your own fresh fruit or crunchy high fiber cereal to boost the taste without all that refined sugar from syrupy fruit flavoring. Watching carbs and calories and don’t mind artificial sweeteners? Then go for a “light” yogurt, which has most of the benefits of plain nonfat yogurt but is sweetened with Splenda or Aspartame to keep the sweet taste without adding a lot of calories and carbs. Most light ones average 80-100 calories per serving (which is usually 6 ounces), and have 15-19 grams of carb, 11-14grams of sugar and no fat.

BEST- non fat (0 %) Greek yogurt

Becoming increasingly popular and prevalent these days, Greek yogurt is a variety that has gone through a straining process that removes the liquid whey from the yogurt which makes it much thicker, richer and creamier, and also much higher in protein and lower in carb- it has only half the carbs but twice the protein or regular yogurt. Greek yogurt has a calcium content comparable to regular yogurt, and contains live active cultures too.. A cup of plain non fat Greek yogurt averages a little over 100 calories, has only 9 grams of carbs and sugar yet boasts a whopping 20-24 grams of protein, the equivalent to a 3 ounce chicken breast! It is also nice to use in cooking because it stands up better to the heating process and has a nice texture. Be sure to choose the non fat plain, as this yogurt also comes in whole and low fat and flavored which will be more calories (if you insist on flavored, choose the nonfat flavored and at least it will still be lower in calories, carbs and sugars than regular flavored yogurt). Try it topped with fruit, nuts or crunchy cereal. Use it as a substitute for sour cream topping. Blend it into smoothies and soups for a protein, Or try it in my White Bean and Artichoke Spread, Pina Colada Smoothie or Morning Breakfast Wrap recipes.


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Chopped Mexican Salad

This salad is very colorful and has tons of flavor- a great side dish to bring to a potluck. You can top it with chicken, tofu or lean ground beef to make it a meal.



4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1 cup shredded red cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup diced cucumber
1 cup diced tomato
1 cup corn (fresh, frozen thawed or canned rinsed)
1 cup black beans (canned, rinsed well)
low fat shredded cheese (optional for garnish *use a gluten-free brand such as Trader Joe's if you are on a gluten-free diet)
chopped fresh cilantro (optional for garnish)


Combine all of the above ingredients in a large bowl. If serving immediately, toss with dressing (recipe below) or your favorite dressing and serve. Otherwise chill the salad and dressing separately in the fridge and combine right before serving.


2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons low fat buttermilk
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon ground cumin

If you don’t have all the ingredients listed above, a nice way to spice up your favorite Italian or ranch dressing is to add ground cumin and lime or your favorite salsa.

Makes 10 cups, five servings

Serving size: Serving size 2 cups without dressing Calories 110 Protein 5 g Carb 19 g Fiber 5 g Sugars 5 g Fat 1 g Saturated fat 0 g Sodium 320 mg

With dressing: Calories 160 Protein 5 g Carb 20 g Fiber 5 g Sugars 6 g Fat 7 g Saturated fat 1 g Sodium 360 mg

Optional Garnish: Tortilla strips


2 corn tortillas (*use a gluten-free brand if you are on a gluten-free diet)
ICB spray or olive oil using olive oil sprayer (if both n/a use a teaspoon of olive oil)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Thinly slice two corn tortillas lengthwise into 1/4th inch thin strips and spray lightly with ICB or olive oil sprayer, or drizzle lightly with olive oil. Bake for about ten minutes or until crispy.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Grilled Portabello Mushroom “Burgers” with Caramelized Balsamic Onions for Two

Want a great veggie alternative to the usual burger, try this recipe…the onions send it over the top!


2 large portabello mushrooms (about 4-5 inches in diameter)
1 cup sliced red onion
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 whole wheat buns (optional, for serving) (OMIT buns if you are on a gluten-free diet)
2 ounces reduced fat cheese (I used Jarlsberg light)


Rinse the mushrooms well, pat dry and cook them either on the barbeque or on a nonstick pan on high heat, about 7-10 minutes on each side. Start with the stem up first, as it will collect moisture which can be drained when it is flipped over. Meanwhile, mix the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar and set aside. Then add the teaspoon oil and onions to a medium pan and sauté on medium heat until the onions are lightly browned/caramelized, about 10-12 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add the balsamic-brown sugar mixture until it is fully absorbed, about 1-2 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside. Once the mushrooms are nearly done, add a slice of cheese on top for the last minute of cooking or until lightly melted and then place them on a bun (or plate if going bun-less) and add the onions on top to serve.

Make 2 servings

Serving size 1 grilled mushroom (without bun and cheese): Calories 100 Protein 3 g Carb 16 g Fiber 3g Sugars 8 g Fat 2.5g saturated fat 0 g Sodium 15 mg

Serving size 1 grilled mushroom (with bun and cheese): Calories 270 Protein 14 g Carb 39 g Fiber 6 g Sugars 12 g Fat 5 g saturated fat 2 g Sodium 250 mg


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