11/25/09

Enjoy a little of everything


After putting together a handful of healthy recipes (makeover recipes) on my blog, I think it is important that we all enjoy the holidays and the good food that comes with time with family/friends and lots of laughs and smiles.
I started my Turkey day holiday with a small piece of a brownie, 1/2 oat bran muffin and one of my applesauce-oat and raisin drop cookies (recipe I will post on a separate blog) this morning after I got home from the Y. Karel enjoyed the rest of the brownie and the other half of Laura's fabulous oat bran muffin.
A lady at swimming turned 50 today so a few of us brought in treats to swimming (we do this for every b-day). The set today was 40 x 100's (which seemed to last forever) but since I love the water oh-so-much, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Plus, it was raining out so I didn't mind being indoors in the water. After the swim I ran 6 miles (tempo intervals) and after the run I did circuits and weights with Karel. After I cleaned up from my workout (which is still exercising to me. I have no plan for swim-bike-run right now, I just do what I feel like depending on the day. Except for weights which is a must 2-3 times per week) I headed home to make a whey smoothie. And with my smoothie...I was super excited to try a real brownie and not a Marni-brownie. Although it was super yummy, I could taste the sugar, saturated fat and butter...ingredients that aren't in my daily diet. I did enjoy every bite and crumb but I don't think I could eat a real brownie (let alone a whole brownie) more than a few times per year.
Speaking of sweet treats, Laura has my mouth watering of all of the fantastic foods (many vegetarian) that she making for Thanksgiving. Because the Trek has the Biggest Sale Ever on Fri we won't be visiting my parents until Fri evening in New Port Richey. We are super excited to spend time with Laura and her family and I'm sure Campy and Bman will be so happy when Laura and I "accidentally" drop foods on the floor for our little ones.
In addition to wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, I hope that you can enjoy a few sweet treats and not feel guilty when treating yourself on Thursday. If you need help with the Do's and Don'ts of Thanksgiving, check out my blog post from 2008


Thanksgiving Do's and Don'ts


If I had one piece of advice, enjoy a little of everything rather than a lot of one thing. When it comes to my desert plate, I let Karel get the deserts and I share with him.
I took the time to list some popular T-day foods and nutrition facts just so you can be aware of what you are eating. I don't think we should ignore the fact that when a person portion-controls foods around the holidays, it is possible to not splurge in 3000+ calories in one sitting.

I tried to keep the foods basic. The calories (and portions) probably don't represent family-style servings or recipes. Recognize that most dishes you eat will be higher in calories than the foods I found on calorieking.com.
For example: Take this recipe for Pumpkin pie (which is sure to taste sweet):
Ingredients:
* 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
* 2 cups canned pumpkin, mashed
* 1 cup sugar
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 egg yolk, slightly beaten
* 2 eggs, slightly beaten
* 1 cup half-and-half
* 1/4 cup melted butter
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
* 1 (9 inch) refrigerated pie dough
* whipped cream, for topping
1 serving:
Calories: 552
Total Fat 35.0g (56% calories from fat)
Saturated Fat 18.0g
Cholesterol 178mg
Sodium 637mg
Potassium 318mg
Total Carbohydrate 53.6g
Dietary Fiber 2.7g
Sugars 37.3g
Protein 8.5g


I think it is very important that you have a plan, and some nutrition fact knowledge of what you are eating and how much of it you choose to eat. Study your measuring cups so you can better understand portions before you eat Thanksgiving dinner.

Turkey breast roasted without the skin: 4 ounces - 153 calories, .8g fat
Ham boneless, roasted: 4 ounces - 201 calories, 10g fat, 1695mg sodium
Stove Top Turkey Stuffing: 4 ounces - 640 calories, 4g fat, 1760mg sodium,
Candied yams: 1/2 cup - 210 calories, 38g sugar
Sara Lee sweet potato pie: 1/8th pie - 280 calories, 10g fat, 26g sugar
Cranberry sauce: 1 slice (1/2 inch thick) - 86 calories, 21g sugar
Betty Crocker Fudge Brownie: 1/20th - 170 calories, 9g fat, 16g sugar
Pumpkin pie: 1/6th of a 8" pie - 229 calories, 10.5g fat, 15g sugar
Mashed Potatoes: 1 cup - 237 calories, 8g fat, 699mg sodium
Green bean casserole: 6 ounces - 190 calories, 11g fat, 750mg sodium
Butternut squash soup: 8.5 ounces - 150 calories, 4.5g fat, 630mg sodium
Mixed Nuts: 1 tbsp - 55 calories, 5g fat


How about a sweet and fruity recipe for those who don't like to cook or bake:
My fruit pizza!

Fruit pizza

1 package reduced sugar cookie sugar dough
1 container fat-free strawberry cream cheese
Any fruit you want (fresh or canned)

1. Roll out cookie dough (very thin) on a baking sheet. Cook according to package.
2. Spread a few spoonfuls of cream cheese on cooled cookie sheet.
3. Decorate with lots of fruit!

11/24/09

Feel-good chocolate cake

Sometimes I impress myself. I didn't think it was possible but I modified a baking recipe to make it a bit healthier and it came out delicious!
On saturday, Karel and I biked to the beach group ride (20 miles), did most of the ride (22 miles) and biked home (20). It was a fun morning, although I wasn't feeling much power in my legs on the ride home. I had one good pull during the ride but other than that I was trying to hang on near the bike for dear life. My friend Stephanie (who is the other female on the ride and super strong on the road bike and MTB) and I got dropped after the Nocatee bridge (which is typical for us) so we jumped back in a few miles down the road. We knew the ride would be super tough because Karel, Jeff, Clint and Curtis (all Cat 1 riders) were having fun with all of the 25+ guys on the ride. Of course, Steph and I were not enjoying the fast pace when Karel or Jeff would make a break but then again, it made the ride go by super fast.
On the ride home Karel randomly told me that he really wanted a chocolate cake. Hum...chocolate cake? Can I really make a healthy cake and make it taste good?
As I was running with Campy off the bike (our typical weekend 3 mile run) I was thinking of ways that I can re-create a chocolate cake recipe without loads of sugar. I knew that I would need chocolate (which has a high amount of fat and calories) but could there be a way to make the cake moist and sweet without the typical ingredients: chocolate, flour, eggs, butter and sugar.

Well, to all my chocolate lovers...it can be done and you can feel good when eating it! Karel enjoyed the cake so much that I had to hide it in the fridge 'cause he couldn't keep his hands off of it! Too bad Karel is sneaky cause he found it and there is no more cake :)

Enjoy!


Feel-good chocolate cake

1/4 cups whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons Smart Balance butter
2 blocks (4 small rectangles) unsweetened Baking Chocolate
1/3 cup Skim Milk
2/3 cups frozen Raspberries
2 tsp. Instant Coffee
1 egg yoke + 5 egg whites
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. Cream of Tartar
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tbsp honey
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees and spray a round baking dish with butter non-stick spray (2-3 quick squirts to coat sides and bottom)
2. Place flour, cinnamon and nutmeg in large bowl, mix and set aside.
3. In a small saucepan, on low heat, combine chocolate, milk, coffee, raspberries (smashed), butter, brown sugar and honey. Stir until chocolate is melted.
4. When everything is melted, remove from burner, add egg yoke and vanilla, and stir for 2-3 minutes until mixture is smooth.
4. In a glass or metal bowl, beat egg whites (no yokes) and cream of tarter until stiff peaks form (this may take 5 or more minutes).
5. Slowly fold in the chocolate mixture into the stiff egg whites. To fold, take a mixing spoon and fold mixture from bottom of the bowl (started from the outsides of the bowl) to the center of the bowl.
6. When chocolate is folded into eggs, slowly add flour (by the tbsp) until flour is mixed.
7. Pour the batter into your pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is firm. You can test with a toothpick in the center of the pan to see if it comes out clean. If so, your cake is ready.

I recommend serving with low fat vanilla yogurt and strawberries (or your choice of fresh fruit).










It's been a while..how about some cute Campy pics...




11/23/09

Healthy Sweet potato pie & graham cracker crust

If you've read my blog before a race, you know how much I love Outback Steakhouse. Nope, not for the steak...for the sweet potato and bread. Oh how I LOVE sweet potatoes.
My Thanksgiving is complete when I have a pile of those warm and delicious, smooth and creamy sweet potatoes on my plate. My mom makes the best sweet potato casserole with toasted marshmallows on top. Over the years, she has cut back on the butter and brown sugar but in my opinion, as long as my mom makes them, I will eat them.
Now, I can only speak for my family but we have a lot of healthy options at Thanksgiving. If you think about it, Thanksgiving is probably one of the few days during the year that people actually eat healthy. Think about it...all the fruits and veggies and protein. People aren't driving through the fast food window or popping a frozen meal in the microwave for lunch or diner. They are preparing recipes handed down generation after generation. If a Turkey Trot is in store, they are eating a healthy snack to get the morning started in order to do a little exercise for the day. Sure, there are easy and unhealthy ways to cook by using canned and frozen items and lots of butter and sugar, but when the food is passed around the table you are likely to have a few healthy options. However, when it comes to portions, I think that is where America get's a little unhealthy when it comes to Thanksgiving. Sure, there are high fat and high sugar recipes for Thanksgiving but a little of everything doesn't cause a person to gain even 1 lb overnight. It is only when a person eats high calorie, high fat and high sugar foods on a daily basis that a person will gradually gain weight.
I can understand that many people will not like my recipes at Thanksgiving because they aren't super sweet. They could probably use some salt, sugar and butter. I have heard from many people (including myself) that as you change your eating habits your taste buds change as well. Although I will always enjoy a small piece of an ooey-gooey brownie or a soft & moist nut and raisin cookie, I don't really find high fat, high sugar, high salt foods desirable. They just don't sit well in my mouth, or tummy. Now, this change in taste doesn't happen overnight but I think as you learn to appreciate more healthy food choices (which should still taste great!) you will notice that you crave those more nutritious food choices more often than the heart-unhealthy foods. Therefore, when you do choose to indulge in a sweet treat or a former favorite food, you will be able to control yourself due to your new-found love of healthier foods.
I remember when I met Karel and he would salt a lot of his foods. He told me that the foods just have to have salt, especially the recipes that his mom used to make. I taught him how to read food labels and that we only need around 1500-2000 mg of sodium per day. A year later, he stopped salting his foods and he hasn't picked up a salt shaker since 2007. I'm sure you can tell from my recipes that I don't use salt, white sugar (although I do use brown sugar just because I find it has a stronger taste for me) or butter (well, in my holiday recipes I've used a little butter). There is nothing wrong with certain foods in moderation but I have really found a joy for finding flavors in other food choices. If you think about it, you could cut back on 5 almonds during the day and add 1 tbsp butter to a recipe and not add any extra calories to your day. However, if you add 1 cup of butter to a sweet potato casserole, in addition to 1 cup of brown sugar, you are going to have to get really creative to find ways to enjoy your casserole and not eat more than 500 calories-worth of sweet potatoes. Sure, some recipes require salt, butter/oil or sugar for baking purposes (that is why I have a hard time changing recipes when it comes to baking) but I have found by cutting back on high sugar/high fat/high calorie foods you can still enjoy your favorite treats and feel good eating them.
I hope you enjoy my version of sweet potato pie. At the end of the recipe I will share with you my thoughts of how you can serve it on thanksgiving. :)
Enjoy!


Sweet potato pie and graham cracker crust


Crust:
6 graham cracker sheets
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 cup oats
3 tbsp reduced sugar applesauce (no need to buy cinnamon applesauce for this recipe. Per serving (1/2 cup) it has 50 extra calories compared to reduced sugar applesauce and since you are only using 3 tbsp for this recipe you will likely be enjoying your applesauce after Thanksgiving)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Place graham crackers in a ziplock bag and crush with hands or rolling pin (great to have your kids help with this one). Add cinnamon and oats and give a good shake.
3. Pour graham crackers in a bowl and add applesauce. Mix together (may be a bit clumpy).
4. In a non-stick pan sprayed with butter non-stick spray (just 1-2 quick sprays), press crust into bowl with a spoon (may need to spray spoon with non stick spray). spread crust evenly in pan until the bottom is covered.
5. Cook for 8-10 minutes until crust is toasted. May need to check around 6 minutes because you don't want a burnt crust.



Sweet potato mixture
1 egg white + 1 whole egg
2 medium sweet potatoes (or 1 1/2 large sweet potatoes)
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
2 tbsp evaporated skim milk

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Soften sweet potatoes until you can mash or cut them. If you choose to soften the potatoes in the microwave (as opposed to on the stove in hot water for 25-30 minutes) poke holes in potato with a fork and microwave for 8-10 minutes on a plate. Only do 1 potato at a time in the microwave.
3. Mix together eggs, milk and spices in a small bowl.
4. When sweet potatoes are soft, peel off skin and mash with a fork.
5. In a blender, food processor or mixer, add sweet potatoes and spices. Mix until soft like baby food. You may want to taste sweet potatoes and add more spices if necessary.
6. In your round baking dish, with the crust, pour sweet potato mixture and spread evenly with spatula.
7. Cook for 10 minutes at 425 degrees. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and cook for 20-30 more minutes. You will want to remove the pie when the top of the pie is firm to the touch.
8. Let pie cool for 5 minutes.
7. To remove pie, place a plate over baking pan and flip over. Give a tap to the baking pan (which is resting on the plate) and slowly lift the pan. Your pie will turn out crust-side-up and is ready to be served.






My suggestion for serving the pie on Thanksgiving:
Set up a sweet potato pie bar (similar to an ice cream bar) at the desert table (when ready to eat desert). Have toppings for the pie in small bowls with small spoons. Toppings could include:
*light brown sugar
*low fat vanilla yogurt
*yogurt ice cream
*fat-free cool-whip
*cinnamon
*fresh fruit (Ex. cranberries, strawberries)
*shredded dark chocolate
*melted dark chocolate
*raisins
*chopped nuts
*sugar-free syrup
*mini marshmellows

11/22/09

Apple, Celery and Onion Stuffing muffins

I saw this on Rachel Ray and had to re-create the recipe. I am a huge fan of stuffing (how can you resist flavored soft bread??) and every year my dad makes me an out-of-the bird stuffing for his vegetarian daughter. :)
This is a vegetarian-friendly Thanksgiving side and with my healthy makeover (more nutritional value rather than just bread, chicken stock, celery and butter), this is a great recipe that you can eat any time of the year.


Apple and Onion stuffing muffins

1/2 tbsp olive oil
4 long celery ribs (chopped)
1 medium yellow onion (chopped)
2 large Mcintosh apples (chopped)
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tbsp. basil leaf seasoning
4 cups cubed stuffing mix (I used Italian stuffing)
1 cup vegetarian stock (look for the lowest sodium option)
Pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. On a large skillet, on medium high heat, add olive oil.
3. Add veggies to skillet after chopping (I recommend chopping all veggies but apples before heating your dish and then heat the skillet when chopping the apples). 4. After 6-7 minutes of cooking, add a few dashes of pepper. Stir the mixture every 2-3 minutes to make sure everything is coated with pepper and olive oil.
5. Add parsley and basil when veggies and apples are soft. Stir.
6. Add stuffing cubes, followed by vegetarian stock. Stir mixture to make sure everything is coated with seasonings and stock.
7. In a non-stick muffin pan, sprayed with non-stick spray, add a heaping 1/4 cup of stuffing mixture to each tin. Each tin should be full with stuffing. If you would like to use a baking pan instead of muffin tin, you can do that as well. You will likely have a full 12-muffin tin of stuffing plus around 2 cups extra stuffing mixture for more muffins or a baking pan.
8. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until top of muffins are brown and toasted.
9. Be careful when removing the muffins as they may break apart. However, even if they break apart they are still super delicious!