Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Livin' Lean Topic Tuesday: SAVANNAH & RWOP

We are going to skip talkin' about the usual today. Let's focus on what is really happening right now and that is SAVANNAH and the Real Women of Philadelphia. One word can describe this whole experience thus far; amazing. From the people we meet, the things we do, to the places we go. It has been absolutely amazing! In my whole life I never could have imagined such an experience and amazing opportunity. Kraft, Paula Deen and the fabulous people at EQUAL have created something that I hope continues on for many years to come. What a bond that has been started here. I really can't explain; without getting all choked up (water works here). When you are surrounded by such great, genuine people, it's hard not to. In a time when we seem to only hear about the bad things in the world, it is a breath of fresh air to know there are still so many good people out there. I really believe that this community of women is actually a compliment to Paula; she simply attracts good people. She is a class act. And let me tell ya, there is one Paula. What you see on TV is exactly what you get in person...only 100 times better!

The best way to see what has been happening is to visit the site and see for yourself. Please take a moment and check out the great pics and video at realwomenofphiladelphia.com. More pics and details from me to follow. Love ya'll!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Paula Deen's Lean: Broccoli Salad

This is a classic side dish! My mother had made this for years, but not quite like Paula Deen does it. If you are looking for an easy and delicious salad to whip up for dinner or a neighborhood gathering...look no further. This is perfect for those summertime picnics and BBQs.

For Paula Deen's original recipe, check out pauladeen.com or buy her Lady & Sons Savannah Country Cookbook.

Serves 6 to 8


1 head broccoli
6-8 slices cooked CENTER CUT bacon; crumbled
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup raisins
8 ouces REDUCED-FAT Cheddar cheese; cut in small chunks
1 cup Hellmann's mayonnaise dressing (low-fat)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup SPLENDA


Trim off the leaves and tough stalks of the broccoli. Wash well, then cut into bite-size pieces. Place in a large bowl. Add bacon, onion, raisins and cheese. In a small bowl, combine all of the remaining ingredients; stirring well. Add to the broccoli mixture and toss together; coating thoroughly. Serve immediately or refrigerate.


This is a wonderfully simple, nutritious and delicious side dish! My mother made it just like this, minus the Cheddar cheese. Her's was wonderful, but I love the new addition. I am sure she will like it too.
Here is how much we saved with subbing some lighter ingredients in for the originals...

ORIGINAL                                             LIGHT                                             SAVINGS
Mayonnaise     78.5 g/fat                      Hellmann's Mayo Dressing  12g/fat              66.5 g/fat
Bacon              28.4 g/fat                     Center-Cut Bacon               8g/fat                20.4 g/fat
Sugar               774 calories                 SPLENDA                       20 calories          754 calories
Cheddar           27.1 g/fat                    2% Cheddar                      48 g/fat               27.1 g/fat
                                                                                                                     Total Fat Savings: 114 g/fat

**Calculations are based on the entire recipe. Information taken from calorieking.com.

I am excited to share another fabulous Paula Deen dish that is so easy to lighten up and make part of a healthy, balanced diet. If you have 15 minutes, you have time to throw this together. ENJOY!!

Livin' Lean Topic Tuesday: Why I LOVE Shoes

I must apologize for being a day late on this. As you well know, life is crazy and doesn't always work out the way we plan every day. But I am not complaining. It is a busy life I lead and a blessed one.

Anyhow, let's talk about shoes!

I love shoes. I have always loved shoes. It is an unconditional love that we share. No matter the state; pregnant, bloated, in-shape, out-of-shape, post holiday or post-marathon...my shoes always fit and make me feel fabulous. They don't look at me and say, "Should've watched yourself on vacation with those frozen cocktails" or "Wow, thank goodness I still fit. Keep up the good workouts!" No, they never say that. Shoes are kind. Shoes are always a perfect fit.

Never do shoes make you feel bad about yourself. Have you ever pulled out a pair of shoes from five years ago and said, "Oh, those were the days when I was thin"? Of course not! Shoes won't do that to you. Why? Because they love you just as much as you love them.

So, the next time you try on a pair of shoes that make you feel gorgeous...BUY THEM! Because they will always make you feel this way from this moment on. And when you feel great, you look great. Thanks, shoes!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Paula Deen's Lean: Spring Vegetable Pizza

First, let me say this. If you are making a vegetable pizza, then you are already on the right track to a healthy meal. This particular veggie pizza recipe was taken from Cooking with Paula Deen Magazine (April 2010). This dish graced the front cover, along with Paula and her hubby Michael, and I just had to make it from day one. Since my friend Jen Peer (from the Real Women of Philadelphia) informed us all that yesterday was "National Eat Your Veggies Day", I felt it was the perfect time to test out this dish. Plus, my meat lovin' husband was out of town (see Cheese Quesadilla post).

Not only did I cut some fat and calories out of this dish, I also cut out some time; roughly an hour or so. Just because I don't get home until 6:15 on most evenings does not mean there isn't time for a delicious, healthy, home-made meal. Right? Of course! Here is my fit and fast version of Paula's already nutritious Spring Vegetable Pizza.

Makes 1 Pizza (Serves 6)

1 package Pillsbury THIN CRUST pizza dough
1 yellow squash; thinly sliced
1 zucchini; thinly sliced
4 Roma tomatoes; sliced
1 sweet onion; sliced
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup KRAFT FAT FREE Italian Cheese blend ( or just Mozzarella)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
Salt & Pepper
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Sautee onion in EVOO and Italian seasoning over medium heat for about 10 minutes; until lightly browned.

Roll dough out on a sprayed cookie sheet and bake for 5 minutes.

Spread cooked onions over the dough. Starting on the outside, line the dough with a ring of tomatoes. Follow with a ring of squash, then zucchini. Repeat until center of dough is covered (see picture).

Sprinkle with a pinch of salt, pepper and garlic powder ( or to taste). Top with cheese.

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is golden.

This dish is just so fresh and delicious! I absolutely love it! It is so light and good for you that there is no reason to feel the least bit guilty about reachin' for another piece. I sure didn't feel bad about it! There is just enough seasoning and cheese to compliment the veggies, but not overpower them. Plus, by using the ready-made dough, I saved tons of time. Paula makes her own pizza crust and used the Italian seasoning in the dough. To maintain that flavor, just toss the seasoning in with the onions and nothing is lost.

I just know this is going to be one of those dishes that I make over and over again. What a great lunch or light dinner it makes. Especially in these warm weather months.

I hope you decide to give this recipe a try! Remember...eat those veggies!!

NUTRITION FACTS (per serving): 247.5 calories;  7.94g fat;  31.57g carbohydrate;  13.32g protein;  2.62g fiber

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Livin' Lean Topic Tuesday: The Skinny on My Skinny Latte

I have not always been a coffee drinker. In fact, it wasn't until being pregnant with my daughter that I actually started craving coffee; which by the way is not a good time to want coffee. Normally, people try to avoid coffee when pregnant; the whole caffeine thing. Not me! I had to have at least three decaf vanilla lattes a week. Sometimes I would switch it up with a peppermint patty latte. Those are the best! Anyway, my latte love affair did not end when I had my daughter. It has continued and still temps me every morning.

While driving to school this morning, I was trying to decide between Starbucks and McDonald's for my skinny vanilla latte. The deciding factor this morning was that Starbucks was on my route, McDonald's wasn't. But it got me thinking about how the two compared nutritionally. When it comes to cost, McDonald's is cheaper. But which packs the most calories?

I had never really done the research before. I figured they were both non fat, therefore equal in comparison. However, in just a few minutes of web searching, I found that a McCafe vanilla latte has 50 more calories than a tall, skinny, Starbucks vanilla latte. The McDonald's version of this wonderful beverage has 140 calories per 12 ounces, while Starbucks contains only 90.

Overall, the nutritional winner here is Starbucks. They are able to take the lead by using sugar-free syrup; cutting down on calories and carbohydrates. A McDonald's non-fat vanilla latte has almost twice as many carbohydrates compared to Starbucks at just 14 grams per 12 ounces. That's not bad.

So, the next time I have the great latte debate (assuming that I have time and my spending account is not extremely low), the choice is going to be Starbucks. Plus, don't you just love their reduced-fat coffee cake selection? I think that's a whole other post.

Keep livin' lean like a coffee drinkin' queen!

Have a fabulous Tuesday!!

**Information and pictures for this post were taken from starbucks.com and the McDonald's Food & Nutrition page.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Livin' Lean Topic Tuesday: Break It Up: How to Get the Most Out of Your Workout

Try running at a moderate to fast pace for 10 minutes. Pretty soon, your body gets tired and you want to stop. After those 10 minutes, you are exhausted and maybe even bored. If it's up to you, your workout session is over. However, try sprinting for 1 minute, walking for 1 minute and then doing 5 push-ups. Repeat this for ten minutes and then see how you feel. I would put my money on it that you are feeling a lot better than the first scenario. In fact, you are probably ready to continue your workout at the same intensity. Since you are breaking up the exercises and giving certain muscles time to rest, you are able to work out longer; while maintaining proper technique and higher levels of intensity. This concept is called interval training.

This is a concept our school system's physical education department begins teaching at the elementary level. The mission is to keep students active for longer periods of time. To do this, they need to understand that adding variety and rest to their activities will allow them to sustain energy needed for longer workouts (or in their case, games). It is a simple strategy and it works!!

I have always been a runner and after having my daughter 2 years ago, I had 40 pounds to work off. Since I was heavier than my normal weight and not in running shape, I had to ease into it. If I had tried running continuously for 30 minutes, it wouldn't have gone well. Instead,I would run for a few minutes, walk a few minutes and then perform a weight activity such as bicep curls. I could keep this up for at least 30 minutes and feel good while doing it. Each time, I would challenge myself by increasing speed or time intervals. Eventually, I was back where I wanted to be in "pre-baby" shape. I still use intervals in my workouts to incorporate speed work and weight training. I can't sprint for ten minutes straight, but if I break it up with weights every minute...I can.

Variety is great in all parts of life; even exercise. Spice up your routine and give muscle groups time to rest. You will find yourself working harder and for longer periods of time. It will be an overall more effective workout. Promise!

Have a great Tuesday!!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Paula Deen's Lean: Quick Crab Stew

The only time I ever have crab soup is at the beach. When I see it on the menu, it is just impossible to resist. Although it is one of my favorite soups, the strange thing is that I only crave it at the beach. It's one of those foods that is more than just a taste or a smell; it is a feeling. For me, it is associated with vacation, family, good times and relaxation. And when I took the first bite of Paula's Quick Crab Stew, I was instantly taken from my kitchen to a waterfront restaurant in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Give it a try and see where it takes you.

Serves 6


Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup dry sherry
1 lb claw crab meat, picked free of any broken shells
1 soup can FAT FREE half-and-half
1 soup can SKIM or 1% milk
1 (10 3/4-ounce)can condensed CAMPBELL'S HEALTHY REQUEST cream of celery soup
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed cream of potato soup
1 small onion, chopped
2 tablespoon "I Can' Believe It's Not Butter" Light


In a large saucepan, melt the butter/olive oil blend and saute the onion until translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the soups, milk, and half-and-half. Add the crab meat and bring just to a boil. Add the sherry, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately. Or allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate or freeze immediately in plastic microwavable reusable containers with lids. Goes great with sliced baguette.


Unbelievable! I have been raving about this soup since we tried it on Friday! I couldn't believe how easy it was and how wonderful it tastes. Even with using fat free and low-fat dairy, the soup still maintains a rich, thick and creamy consistency. The best part about it is how "crabby" it is. One pound of crab meat is the perfect amount to make sure each bite is loaded with crab meat. Delicious!

The only one drawback to this recipe for people might be the price of crab. It is definitely more costly than chicken or fish. A pound of claw meat in my market costs me about $13.00. It's a little much for my budget to be making every week, but for a special treat, it is worth the occasional splurge.

I know that if we are lookin' for a quick dinner to "take us away" and make us feel like we are at the beach on vacation...this is the one. If you are a crab lover, this recipe is a must. ENJOY!

NUTRITION FACTS (per serving): 195.33 calories;  4.27g fat;  19.22g carbohydrate;  17.65g protein;  .78g fiber

**Picture taken from pauladeen.com.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Livin' Lean Topic Tuesday: Late Spring Pantry Cleaning

Yes, it is June 1st and we may be well into spring, but it is never too late to do a little cleaning. I am not talking windows and closets. I am talkin’ about those pantries!

During my daughter’s birthday party this weekend (I still can’t believe my baby girl is 2!), my kitchen had plenty of dips, chips, cheeses and other “snacky” foods for all our guests to enjoy. As my friend Shawna and I talked up a storm, we were unaware of the nice size dent we had made in the bowl of chips and dip that were conveniently located in front of us. It was like we had no awareness of what we were eating. Reach for chip, dunk in dip, put in mouth. Repeat. Chips and dip are just so good and it is really hard to stop. After commenting on the amount of salty snack food we had just indulged in, Shawna then said, “This is why I can’t keep chips in the house. I don’t know when to stop.” She is so smart! I thought about what she said and it made sense. Shawna is onto something here.

So with that little comment, I found myself writing this post topic today. Controlling our urges to over-snack on tempting treats such as chips, crackers and cookies can be as easy as a little spring cleaning. If they aren’t in the house, you can’t eat them. It may be worth taking the time to go through your pantry today and rid yourself of all those foods that distract us from everyday healthy eating. The ones we grab from the shelf, take to the couch and end up finishing off. Those are the ones that need to go. If the temptation is too much and the accessibility is what is sabotaging your eating habits, set them free!

If you still want to keep those foods in the house in case company pops in and you need a quick appetizer, try putting them in a hard to reach spot or behind healthier items. Perhaps if they are out of sight, they will also be out of mind. I always have tortilla chips and a variety of crackers, but they are on the top or bottom shelf; never at eye level. The first thing we see should be our healthiest choices.

One more item to note; instead of throwing away all of those unopened bags and boxes of goodies, check with local organizations or food banks. There are always people in need. Let’s not waste food. Make your spring pantry cleaning a positive thing for you and for others.
Have a wonderful Tuesday!


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