Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Best Times to Stretch

From Glamour's Vitamin G Blog, via The Fitnessista, here are 3 key times during the day that you should stretch. Stretching keeps your muscles warm and limber, keeping you from stiffening up and being uncomfortable. It can help keep your blood pumping and your body in good shape.

Best Times to Stretch

*Right after you wake up: I've started stretching in bed as a more relaxing way to wake up. Before I set my feet on the floor, I slowly stretch my legs, then arms. Health experts say that pausing this way before you jump out of bed and start your busy day can really help you manage stress.

*After exercise: Sure, go ahead and stretch a little before you work out, but it may be most important to loosen those limbs after your long run, say experts.

*Right before sleep: Yawning and stretching, say sleep experts, is how animals hit the hay, and it's a technique that might help you fall asleep sooner, too.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

If you like your desserts bittersweet, check out this recipe for Hot Fudge Pudding Cake from Eating Well. The recipe adds coffee to this chocolate recipe, boosting the flavor without becoming too sweet.

Serve this dense, fudgy pudding cake with vanilla frozen yogurt

12 servings

Active Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup nonfat milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup pecan halves, toasted (see Tip)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/3 cups hot strong coffee

Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly coat an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Stir together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Combine milk, egg, oil and vanilla in a glass measuring cup. Make a well in center of the dry ingredients and gradually pour in the milk mixture, stirring until combined. Stir in pecans. Spoon into the prepared pan and spread evenly.
Dissolve brown sugar in coffee; spoon over batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes; serve hot or warm.

Tip: To toast pecan halves: Spread nuts on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F, stirring once, until fragrant, 7 to 9 minutes.

Per serving: 142 calories; 5 g fat ( 1 g sat , 3 g mono ); 18 mg cholesterol; 24 g carbohydrates; 2 g protein; 1 g fiber; 204 mg sodium; 114 mg potassium.

Carbohydrate Servings: 1 1/2

Exchanges: 1 1/2 other carbohydrate, 1 fat

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Coconut-Blueberry Muffins

From Glamour's Vitamin G Blog, check out this recipe for Coconut- Blueberry Muffins.

Coconut-Blueberry Muffins

This recipe is from the Muffin Tin Mania check it out here

Monday, May 23, 2011

Asparagus and Wonton in Tarragon Cream

Pasta dishes are always instant hits; check out some unique and delicious pasta dishes from Good Housekeeping in their collection of Noodle and Pasta Recipes. Here is a recipe for Angel Hair with Shrimp and Scallops.

Asparagus and Wonton in Tarragon Cream

From Good Housekeeping

Tender asparagus, crisp snow peas, and delicate wonton skins are tossed in a luscious sauce.

Serves: 4

Total Time: 40 min
Cook Time: 20 min


2 tablespoon(s) butter or margarine
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 pound(s) asparagus, trimmed and cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
2/3 cup(s) fat-free chicken broth
1 package(s) (12 ounces) fresh or frozen (thawed) wonton-skin wrappers
1/2 cup(s) half-and-half or light cream
1 tablespoon(s) fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
1/4 teaspoon(s) coarsely ground black pepper
4 ounce(s) snow peas, strings removed and each pod cut diagonally in half
Fresh tarragon sprigs for garnish

In nonstick 12-inch skillet, melt margarine or butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add asparagus and broth; heat to boiling over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 6 minutes or until asparagus is tender-crisp.
Meanwhile, heat large saucepot of water to boiling over high heat; add wonton wrappers, one at a time to prevent them from sticking together, and cook 2 to 3 minutes, until tender.
Add cream, tarragon, salt, and pepper to asparagus mixture; cook 2 minutes. Do not boil.
Add snow peas to pot with wonton wrappers; drain. Immediately add wonton mixture to vegetable mixture in skillet and toss well to coat. Garnish with fresh tarragon.

Nutritional Information

(per serving)
Calories 390
Total Fat 11g
Saturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 35mg
Sodium 1,045mg
Total Carbohydrate 57g
Dietary Fiber 4g
Sugars --
Protein 13g
Calcium --

Friday, May 20, 2011

Mediterranean Grain Salad

For those of us cooking for just one, here are some more recipes for delicious single serving dinners. This set is from Delish's Dinner For One feature.

Enjoy this satisfying vegetarian main: a generous bulgur salad with crumbled goat cheese and juicy tomatoes.

Serves: 1
Total Time: 35 min
Prep Time: 5 min


1/3 cup(s) medium-grind bulgur
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup(s) grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup(s) fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 small shallot, minced
1 tablespoon(s) red-wine vinegar
2 teaspoon(s) olive oil
1 ounce(s) fresh goat cheese, crumbled


In a heatproof bowl, mix bulgur with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 cup boiling water. Cover, and let stand until tender but slightly chewy, about 30 minutes.
Drain bulgur in a fine-mesh sieve, pressing to remove liquid; return to bowl. Add tomatoes, parsley, shallot, vinegar, and oil. Season with salt and pepper, and toss. Top with cheese.

Tips & Techniques

Bulgur is precooked wheat that's been dried and cracked. It has a nutty taste and is sold alongside rice in many supermarkets.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Chicken Soup with Dill

I am a huuuge soup eater-I don't know why, but I love tasty, hearty, and healthy soups. Eating Well's Healthy Soup and Bread Recipes has tons of recipes and tips that I am definitely in to. Here is a recipe for Chicken Noodle Soup with the surprise flavoring of dill to bring some nuances to a comforting favorite.

6 servings, about 1 1/2 cups each

Active Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

10 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 medium carrots, diced
1 large stalk celery, diced
3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 ounces whole-wheat egg noodles, (3 cups)
4 cups shredded cooked skinless chicken breast, (about 1 pound; see Tip)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon lemon juice, or to taste

Bring broth to a boil in a Dutch oven. Add carrots, celery, ginger and garlic; cook, uncovered, over medium heat until vegetables are just tender, about 20 minutes.
Add noodles and chicken; simmer until the noodles are just tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in dill and lemon juice.

Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Tip: Place boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a medium skillet or saucepan and add lightly salted water to cover; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer gently until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, 10 to 12 minutes.

Per serving: 267 calories; 4 g fat ( 2 g sat , 1 g mono ); 90 mg cholesterol; 18 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 38 g protein; 2 g fiber; 329 mg sodium; 330 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (104% daily value).

Carbohydrate Servings: 1

Exchanges: 1 starch, 1 vegetable, 4 lean meat

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Layered Carrot Cake

Southern Living has a great collection of lightened southern classic dishes. I'm sure you can tell that I love the idea of slimming down and lightening up favorite dishes so that we can enjoy them without taking in all the fat and calories of the original dish. So with that, here is a recipe for a lightened layered carrot cake recipe. Recently I've kind of become obsessed with well made carrot cake, so I am definitely excited to see how this one rates.

Layered Carrot Cake

  • YIELD: Makes 16 servings
  • COURSE: Cakes/Frostings, Desserts
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (8-oz.) can crushed pineapple in juice, drained
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 1/2 (8-oz.) package 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 to 2 tsp. fat-free milk (optional)

  • Prepare Batter:
  • 1. Preheat oven to 350°. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Whisk together pineapple and next 4 ingredients; add pineapple mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in carrots. Pour batter into 2 (8-inch) round cake pans coated with cooking spray.
  • 2. Bake at 350° for 22 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pans to a wire rack; cool completely (about 1 hour).
  • Prepare Frosting:
  • Beat first 3 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar to butter mixture; beat at low speed just until blended. (Do not overbeat.) Beat in up to 2 tsp. milk for desired consistency. Place 1 cake layer on a serving plate; spread with 2/3 cup frosting, and top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake.
  • Try This Twist!
  • Carrot Cake Muffins: Omit Frosting. Place about 15 paper baking cups in muffin pans, and coat with cooking spray. Prepare batter, and fold in 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans and 1/2 cup golden raisins with carrots. Spoon batter into baking cups, filling about two-thirds full. Bake as directed. Cool in pans on a wire rack 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes about 15 muffins.
  • Per serving: Calories 204; Fat 7.3g (sat 1g, mono 2.6g, poly 3.4g); Protein 3.8g; Carb 31.9g; Fiber 1.9g; Chol 28mg; Iron 1.2mg; Sodium 356mg; Calc 23mg

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Slimmer Chicken Fried Steak and Gravy

I found a collection of recipes on Eating Well that slims down diner food; the comfort food that we all love, can't live without and sometimes crave. Try these versions and see if they can help quell that craving and find some new, slimmer favorites.

Chicken-Fried Steak & Gravy

: September/October 2008

Can you really make a chicken-fried steak that isn't loaded with saturated fat and salt? Absolutely. We skip the deep frying, but with rich country gravy as consolation, you won't miss it. Our pan-fried, crispy cube steak has less than one-third of the fat and about 80 percent less sodium.

4 servings

Active Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch, divided
1 teaspoon paprika
1 pound cube steak, cut into 4 portions
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup half-and-half

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

Place all-purpose flour on a large plate. Place egg whites in a shallow dish. Whisk cornmeal, whole-wheat flour, 1/4 cup cornstarch and paprika in another shallow dish. Season both sides of steak with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Dredge the steak in the flour, shaking off excess; dip in the egg whites, then dredge in the cornmeal mixture.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and add 2 pieces of the steak; cook until browned on both sides, turning once, 3 to 5 minutes total. Transfer the steak to the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and 2 pieces of steak. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake until cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, add broth to the pan and boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about 1 cup, 3 to 5 minutes. Whisk water and the remaining 1 tablespoon cornstarch until smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cornstarch mixture. Return to the heat and cook, stirring, until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in half-and-half; season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Serve the steak topped with the gravy.

Per serving: 315 calories; 13 g fat ( 3 g sat , 7 g mono ); 57 mg cholesterol; 14 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 33 g protein; 1 g fiber; 312 mg sodium; 379 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Selenium (50% daily value), Potassium & Zinc (15% dv).

Carbohydrate Servings: 1

Exchanges: 1 starch, 3 lean meat, 1 fat

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A Lesson in Fats

We have all been told to stay away from fats. Then we hear that there are some fats that are good for us, but we still need to be wary of them. I found this article on Redbook that helps breakdown good and bad fats, giving a better idea of what is okay to eat a little more of and what we should try not to eat. I'll divide this up so that the posts aren't super long.

Good Fats, Bad Fats

By Rachel Johnson, Ph.D, M.P.H., R.D.,January/February 2009


“All saturated fats are bad.”

It’s easy just to lump all saturated fats into one “heart-threatening” group, but the reality is that there are many different kinds of saturated fats in foods. Some research suggests that certain types are more harmful than others. For example, a handful of studies show that while coconut oil, rich in lauric acid, raises blood levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, it also raises HDL (“good”) cholesterol slightly. Stearic acid, a type of saturated fat that makes up about half the fat in dark chocolate and accounts for 15 percent of the fat in beef, doesn’t raise LDL at all. Experts consider stearic acid “neutral” when it comes to cardiovascular risk: it doesn’t help, but it doesn’t hurt either.

On the flip side, some saturated fats appear more likely than others to cause the buildup of fatty plaque in arteries. Palmitic acid, which is the main fat in palm oil and another saturated fat present in beef, is one such fat. But the fact that beef contains both “bad” palmitic acid and “neutral” stearic acid underscores the point that foods rich in saturated fats contain a mixture of different types.

And, of course, despite a widespread trend to eliminate trans fats from our food supply, many packaged snacks still contain these man-made fats that act like saturated fats. And trans fats, or “partially hydrogenated” fats, are the unhealthiest of all: they increase (“bad”) LDL and decrease (“good”) HDL.

Bottom Line: Saturated fats are not all created equal. Foods contain a variety of saturated fats, and a “neutral” one won’t negate the impact of a “bad” one. To minimize intake of “bad” saturated fats, choose lean sources of protein and low-fat or nonfat dairy products. Read labels on packaged foods, such as cookies, crackers and microwave popcorn, to avoid palm and coconut oils and trans fats. (While coconut oil may be marginally better than palm, you’re still better off avoiding both.)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Chocolate Graham Cracker Cupcakes with Toasted Marshmallow

This recipe is from Martha Stewart. I love cupcakes and I love smores, so I am dying to try this recipe and wanted to share it.

This delicious recipe is courtesy of Jennifer Shea, owner of Trophy Cupcakes.

Chocolate Graham Cracker Cupcakes with Toasted Marshmallow

  • YieldMakes 2 dozen


  • 2 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (from about 20 squares)
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • Marshmallow Frosting


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 standard muffin tins with cupcake liners; set aside.

  2. Sift 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix ingredients together on low speed.

  3. In a large bowl, mix together eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Add to flour mixture and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl and continue mixing on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add boiling water and stir to combine; set cake batter aside.

  4. Place graham cracker crumbs, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and melted butter in a large bowl; stir until well combined.

  5. Place 1 tablespoon graham cracker mixture into the bottom of each prepared muffin cup. Use the bottom of a small glass to pack crumbs into the bottom of each cupcake liner. Reserve remaining graham cracker mixture for topping.

  6. Place 2 teaspoons chocolate in each muffin cup. Transfer muffin tins to oven and bake until the edges of the graham cracker mixture is golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and fill each muffin cup three-quarters full with cake batter. Sprinkle each with remaining chocolate and graham cracker mixture. Return to oven and bake, rotating pans halfway through baking, until tops are firm and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer muffin tins to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and let cool completely.

  7. Transfer frosting to a large pastry bag fitted with a large plain round or French tip (such as Ateco #867 or Ateco #809). Pipe frosting in a spiral motion on each cupcake. Transfer cupcakes to a baking sheet. Using a kitchen torch, lightly brown the frosting, taking care not to burn the cupcake liners. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container, up to 2 days.


    -sub splenda for baking in for the sugar

    -use only egg whites (one egg white=half an egg)

    -use skim milk, soy milk, or almond milk

    -sub apple sauce for vegetable oil-you can use the same amount of apple sauce as vegetable oil

    -margarine for butter

    **I have tried all of these substitutions in various recipes and have had good experiences with them-things still taste good and for the most part, you can't tell that you've substituted or made the recipe healthier**

Monday, May 2, 2011

Chicken with Roasted Tomatoes, Shallots, and White Beans from Just Peachy in Dixie

It's always nice to find a chicken recipe that is more interesting than just plain, spiced baked chicken (wow, my dinners are boringgg). While browsing some blogs that I follow, I found this recipe for chicken with roasted tomatoes, shallots, and white beans from Jennifer at Just Peachy in Dixie.

"Hi all!
Anybody else a Robin Miller fan? I just love her show, "Quick Fix Meals"! She shows you how to make a meal fast, while making extra at the same time for another meal later in the week. "