Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Lean Libation: Ina's Mulled Wine

From Halloween night until sometime in February, mulled wine is a favorite of wine. This warm libation is perfect for chilly fall and winter nights. Just this past Halloween, I filled a crock pot with this yummy stuff and had coffee to-go cups for my friends to help fight the cold as we took our kids from house to house. It was definitely a great "treat" that night!

Hubby laughed at how Mott's for Tots is in an adult beverage. That is kinda funny!
For inspiration, I used Ina Garten's recipe for mulled wine. I picked up a few tips for sweetening over the years from visiting various vineyards around my area. Those tips, along with a "lean perspective", created this version of mulled wine that every adult in the family is sure to enjoy. Cheers!

MULLED WINE
Serves 8

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

Combine the Mott's for Tots, wine, and spice bags in a large saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Pour into mugs, add an orange peel to each and serve.

RESULTS

I've had this adult beverage "the real" way with all the sugar and stuff. Not only does this save on calories and carbs, but it actually has a better taste to it (if you like the taste of wine). In my opinion, the sugar can be overwhelming. The light characteristic of Mott's for Tots Apple Juice provides a hint of sweet and allows the true flavors of the wine and the spices to pull through. A simple switch saves around 60 calories per glass! That is something to celebrate.

CHEERS!

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

BEFORE: 167.6 calories / .14g fat / 25.6g carbohydrate / .17g protein / .15g fiber
AFTER: 107.1 calories / 0g fat / 10.4g carbohydrate / .06g protein / 0g fiber
SAVES: 60.5 calories and 15.2g carbohydrate





Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Cookin' Lean with Sandra Lee: Gorgonzola-Pear Toasts

It's not the typical appetizer I would serve to a basement full of men watching a football game, but the fans appreciated this new addition to the line up on Sunday.

If you have ever seen Sandra Lee, then you already know why I like her cookin' style. Everything is "semi-homemade", which saves on time and sometimes even on money. She can take just a few store bought ingredients, add a few fresh ingredients and "presto", you have a dish that is dressed to impress. It's so smart!

Here is a great recipe inspired by Sandra Lee. These Gorgonzola-Pear Toasts to throw together for house guests and family over the next week or so. So simple, Kimber and her friend Aubrey did a lot of the work for me!

GORGONZOLA-PEAR TOASTS
Makes 40 (Serves 10)

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 Whole Grain baguette, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
  • 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 8-ounce package Fat Free PHILADELPHIA cream cheese
  • 4 ounces crumbled Reduced-Fat Gorgonzola cheese
  • 2 15-ounce cans NO SUGAR ADDED sliced pears, drained
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon SPLENDA
  • 5 sprays "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter"
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • Additional pinch ground cinnamon for garnish

DIRECTIONS
 
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly brush 1 side of each baguette slice with olive oil. Place the slices on a baking sheet and toast 5 to 7 minutes, or just until beginning to brown. Let cool.




Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the cream cheese and Gorgonzola cheese, stirring until well mixed.

Kimber & her friend Aubrey takin' care of the mixing for me.

In a small skillet over low heat, warm chopped pecans with sprays of ICBINB. Sprinkle with cinnamon and Splenda. Toast for about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and save for topping.


Spread the toasts with the cheese mixture. Top with the pear slices and chopped sweetened pecans. Sprinkle with the parsley and additional cinnamon.



RESULTS

So good! So simple! I love when you can throw something together in less than 15 minutes that looks a little fancy. That's what a little Gorgonzola and some pear slices will do, I guess.

If your store doesn't have reduced-fat Gorgonzola, don't worry about it. It is a nice little savings, yet when 4 ounces is being shared among 10 servings...you can afford to use the real deal.

Fat free cream cheese and no sugar added pears round out the smart switches. The whole grain baguette is just an added bonus. Again, if you can't find one, not a big deal. The real savings are in the cream cheese & home-made sweetened pecans. Just check out the savings!

NUTRITION FACTS (Per Serving/4 Toasts):

BEFORE: 256.8 calories / 15.4g fat / 23.38g carbohydrate / 6.87g protein / 2.26g fiber
AFTER: 158.8 calories / 5.2g fat / 21.17g carbohydrate / 9.97g protein / 2.4g fiber
SAVES: 98 calories / 10.2g fat / 2.21g carbohydrate



Well, it's not a "Livin' Lean Topic Tuesday" post, but I thought a great recipe for healthy entertaining was a lot more useful right now. I hope you enjoy!! Next on the list...mulled wine!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Livin' Lean Topic Tuesday: My Christmas Cookin' Wish List

The past month has been a little crazy for me. With my last real semester of classes finishing up, my mind and time has been preoccupied with school and home. Now that the work is behind me, it's time to focus on what I love most...home and cookin'!

When I think of Christmas, most of my memories have been made in the kitchen. I think of making cookies with my Mom and sister growing up. I think of preparing Mom's "Night Before Christmas Breakfast Casserole". I think of making Bloody Mary's just before diggin' into our stockings. The kitchen is a bog part of our Christmas, as I would imagine it is a big part of yours. I am so excited about getting into the kitchen more the Christmas that I decided to tour around www.foodnetwork.com and compile a list of my favorite holiday recipes that I plan on making starting tomorrow! It is my wish to have the time to make all of these and maybe more. Here it is....

My Christmas Cookin' Wish List

How does that look for a list? It's a lot, which is why it is a "wish" list. I don't know about you, but I'm ready to start cookin' and really begin getting into this holiday season. 

I'm hoping these cookie recipes turn out to be great little gifts.

I'll have one of these fabulous lookin' recipes up soon! I just don't know where to start. They all look great! Follow the links and check them out so you have an idea about what is coming.

Have a wonderful Tuesday!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Livin' Lean Topic Tuesday: Healthy Holiday Gift Lists for Mom & Kids

What better gift to give someone than the gift of good health? Exactly! Like many of you I'm sure, I have been scoping out numerous sites over the past couple of weeks in search of Christmas gifts. I have seen some pretty cool stuff that would make great "fit gifts" for women and children. To make tracking down a fun and fit gift easy for you this holiday season, I have decided to compile a list of my favorites. Show your family and friends some love this year and give a gift that promotes good health!

I present to you....

"Lindsay & Kimber's Twelve Days of Christmas Fit-Gift List"



For Mom...

  1. Nike Free Run +2 Running Shoe
  2. Fresh Fruit Delivery (The Fruit Company)
  3. Spa Package (Pampering is part of good health, try something from Merle Norman Day Spa)
  4. Donut Maker (Baked, not fried with this version sold @Target)
  5. Healthy Cook Book (for the party gal try...Hungry Girl Happy Hour)
  6.  iPod (for entertaining those workouts, add headphones)
  7. Gym Membership (24/7 Convenience at Snap Fitness)
  8. Lunch Bag (for packing nutritious lunches in cute packages try Vera Bradley)
  9. Blender (Have your pick of healthy shake makers at Bed, Bath & Beyond)
  10. Starbuck's Gift Card (for those Skinny Latte treat days).

For Little Ones...
  1. Nikes (just like Mom's!)
  2. Gymnastics or Dance Classes
  3. Hula Hoop (A simple, fun, inexpensive classic...great exercise!)
  4. Outdoor Gear (Hats, gloves...encourage outside activity even if it's cold.)
  5. Kid's Baking Set (Curious Chef 27-piece set)
  6. Snowman Kit (from The Land of Nod)
  7. Garden Kit (teaching kids to grow...indoors @ amazon.com)
  8. Healthy Hot Cocoa (Perfect stocking stuffer!)
  9. Water Bottle (Make drinking water easier on-the-go).
  10. Kid's Bop (Throw on some tunes and dance!)
  11. Wii Sports (Fun for the whole family!)

MERRY SHOPPING!





Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Livin' Lean Topic Tuesday: A Reminder of Why I Love What I Do

While at my dentist appointment yesterday, my very sweet hygienist took my pulse and then said, "Wow, 45...you must work out all the time." I told her that I am a runner and her eyes lit up like when I told Kimber that Santa is coming soon!

See, she is a beginning runner. Never did she see herself running anywhere. She even referred to her new running habit as "accidental". It started as a daily walk prescribed by her doctor. Then she started feelin' pretty good, so she picked it up to a jog. Before she knew it...she was running.

She went on to tell me about how she has lost 58 pounds since April, but that the weight loss is just part of the motivation to keep running She loves the feeling of reaching her running goals; pushing herself a little further each time. First it was a 5K. Now she is training for a 10K. She is hooked on running and loving it! She's reading books, asking for advice, sharing her ups and downs...it's great!

Her excitement for this new part of her life was infectious. I love running too. But I had forgotten what it feels like to be new at something, to hit my first 2 miles without walking, to finish my first race, to do something I never imagined I could do. Whether it is running, parenting, your profession, whatever...it is good to get back to why you love whatever it is you are doing. When you get back to that feeling, it's revitalizing. It gives me the energy I need to set new goals and feel that way again.

The excitement of my hygienist's accomplishments brought back those feelings for me. After some time, I think we tend to forget. I'm so happy for this woman and I thank her for bringing back those feelings in me; remembering why I love what I do. She's a reminder of how when one person changes his or her life, it has the power to motivate others and bring happiness to many.

Have a fabulous Tuesday!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Cookin' Lean with The Neelys: Old School Sweet Potato Souffle

Last Tuesday I asked for requests of traditional Thanksgiving favorites that ya'll would like to see Cookin' Lean Style. I was pleased to see that the very first request was for one of our own family favorites...Sweet Potato Casserole. And not just any ol' casserole! There was a specific request for "the kind with marshmallows", just to be sure there was no confusion.
For this challenge, I took inspiration from one of my favorite, adorable Food Network cookin' couples; the Neelys. There marshmallow-covered recipe for Old School Sweet Potato Souffle was the perfect starting point for making a sweet, yet slim version of this Thanksgiving staple. Thanks Patrick and Gina!

Old School Sweet Potato Souffle
Serves 8

INGREDIENTS
  • 5 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4-1/2 ounces fat free half-and-half (or non-fat milk)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Lighter Bake by Sunsweet (found in baking aisle)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 egg whites
  • 3 twists of freshly ground pepper
Topping~
  • 1/8 cup crushed pecans
  • 1/2 cup mini marshmallows
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a 2-quart casserole dish with NON FAT cooking spray and set aside.

Add the potatoes to a large pot of cold, salted water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain.

Mash the potatoes in a large bowl using an electric mixer. Add fat free half-and-half (or non fat milk)brown sugar, LIGHT BAKE, vanilla, cinnamon, beaten egg whites, salt and pepper. Mix together until smooth. Pour the mixture into the casserole dish and bake for 25 minutes.


Remove the casserole dish from oven and top with pecans, marshmallows and brown sugar (all ingredients listed under "Toppings"). Bake until the marshmallows are lightly toasted, about 5 to 10 more minutes. Remove the casserole from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

RESULTS

Another victory for the Cookin' Lean Kitchen! Even Rudy (the Hubby), who is a self-proclaimed sweet potato hater, liked this dish. It's not over-the-top sweet and buttery, but it still tastes great! You can actually taste to wonderful, natural sweetness of the potato. You still get some of the sweet marshmallows and brown sugar, yet don't have the heaviness that comes along with the butter. The fact that it is a souffle also helps to give it that light texture and feeling. If you are looking for a place to lighten your menu this Thanksgiving, this is definitely a dish that will allow you to do so without making you feel like you are missing out.

Just look how it pans out nutritionally! Loved using Sunsweet Lighter Bake!! It's a first using it as a healthy sub for butter and I'm now excited to try it in more recipes. I've used homemade fruit purees before, but this comes in a nice jar where I can use what I need and put the rest in the fridge for next time. So smart, Sunsweet!


NUTRITION FACTS (Per Serving):  

BEFORE- 438.4 calories / 19.7g fat / 59.9g carbohydrate / 8.6g protein / 5.9g fiber
AFTER- 148.6 calories / 1.3g fat / 31.7g carbohydrate / 3.3g protein / 2.6g fiber

SAVES- 289.8 calories / 18.4g fat / 28.2g carbs



Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Livin' Lean Topic Tuesday: We Have a Guest

Today I am taking up an offer from a blog writer who sent me this great piece on ideas for creating gourmet meals at home. Sean is from the Blog Content Guild and he reminds us that great dining experiences don't have to cost a bundle. Have a look at Sean's suggestions for budget gourmet at home. Of course preparing your own meals can bring more than just financial health but physical health too! You are the chef, therefore have total control of what goes into your food and how it is prepared. Double-bonus!


Enjoy!

Fine Dining at Chez Moi: Creating a Grocery List for the Perfect Home-Made Meal




In these tight economic times, you may be forgoing the Saturday nights out or gourmet meals. But you long for that delicious, spongy bread at your favorite Italian restaurant, the chocolate soufflĂ© from that French bistro downtown, and most importantly, that feeling of warm contentedness after you finish a fantastic meal among good company. News flash: you don’t have to give these things up! Entertaining at home can give you an opportunity to enjoy a gourmet meal in the comfort of your own home. In fact, it can be a lot of fun to plan the perfect meal, get all the items on your gourmet grocery list and create a night to remember through a delicious meal.


The perfect meal starts with the perfect menu. Use the menu of your favorite restaurant as a guide to plan out your own evening. Of course, you know the structure of a great meal. Generally, an aperitif starts the meal, followed by the hors d'oeuvres (appetizers), the main course, then dessert. It’s customary to have a digestif and/or coffee after dessert, which both closes out the meal and allows your company to mingle without feeling like they’re imposing on their host. Of course, this traditional structure is not set in stone, it’s your meal and you can amend it as you see fit!


If you are planning on having a larger number of people over, an aperitif or hors d'oeuvres can give staggering guests something to linger over while they wait for the rest of the party. Of course, you could be planning a romantic dinner for two, in which case wine or champagne can set the mood. To stimulate your appetite, shoot for wines that are young, crisp, and fresh and shy away from full bodied reds. These are too heavy for the start of the meal. A cocktail could also do the trick, like a gin and tonic or vodka with a mixer. Get creative with some dry white wine, orange juice, lemon juice, Perrier or a vermouth. Just remember to keep it light and refreshing.


Since you’ll most likely be prepping and/or finishing off the meal at the start of the evening, you’ll want to pick quick n’ easy hors d'oeuvres. This way, you’re not cooking a thousand things at once. Try a cheese and jelly combination on some artisan crackers or a baguette from your favorite bakery served with cheese, butter, and chorizo sausage on the side. Creme cheese’s thick, smooth texture compliments a fruity jelly, while brie tastes great with red pepper jelly or a tomato puree. Hors d'oeuvres don’t have to be ornate to be delicious! The key here is to pick fresh and gourmet ingredients. Go to the bakery for bread, sample an array of cheeses, and pay a little bit extra for nice, flat bread crackers.


After all of your guests have arrived and worked up a bit of an appetite, you’ll want to serve a garden fresh salad. The key to any salad is fresh ingredients and the perfect dressing. If you want to scrimp on the budget, try making your own dressing. A typical, basic green salad vinaigrette can be made with mustard, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. David Leibovitz provides a step-by-step recipe for the perfect French vinaigrette. You can also try making a raspberry vinaigrette, which goes great on a spinach salad with candied walnuts and red onion. Like the hors d’oeuvres, the salad should be a breeze. You can experiment with vinaigrettes ahead of time, and toss your salad moments before serving. Easy!


Deciding on a main course may give you the most trouble. With so many options, how can you possibly pick just one main course? Well, you’ll need to narrow down your options. If you’re having a lot of people over, you will want to have a main course that can cook itself as you host, serve, pour, and mingle. Such entrees include rack of lamb, chicken, or pork. If you’re cooking for two, you can do something a little more complicated, like a steak, seared to perfection over a heavy frying pan. The season could also help you choose your side dishes or main course. Since you’re making a gourmet meal, you’ll want the freshest ingredients available, including fruits and vegetables that are fresh-picked and in their seasonal prime. You can check to see what foods are in season in your region on this seasonal ingredient map. The Food Network provides an archive of seasonal recipes that could help give you some inspiration. Plan your main course around an array of colors and nutrients. A colorful dish appeals to both the taste-buds and the eyes. You can also play with textures and flavors -- crisp with tender, sweet with savory -- you want to present a dish that has a little bit of everything.


Last, but certainly not least, the dessert. You and your guests may be stuffed to the brim, but we always leave a little room for some sugar, don’t we? The great thing about dessert is that it usually can be made ahead of time, then served after dinner. A chocolate tart can be chilled, then served straight out of the fridge. Certain cakes, like carrot cakes for example, taste best at room temperature (e.g. hours after they are actually made). After devouring some sweet treats, finish with a coffee or digestif. In a formal setting, the coffee is usually taken in another room, such as the living room or terrace. When buying coffee beans, go straight to the source: your favorite cafe. Resist the urge to purchase overpriced “gourmet” coffees at your local supermarket. You may be more interested in investing in a classic digestif, like a grappa, whiskey, or fortified wine, instead of an after-dinner coffee. While digestifs are uncommon in the U.S., they’re a great way to allow your guests to wrap up conversation as their stomachs settle.


Et voila! After a fresh opening drink, simple appetizers, a hearty main course, lip-smacking dessert, and a closing coffee, you will feel as content as you ever did after that fancy-schmancy restaurant meal. Yeah, you may have to say goodbye to your favorite Italian restaurant, but I’m sure you’ll find that a homemade, gourmet meal enjoyed with good company is just as sweet.



Thank you for your article, Sean!

**Pop in tomorrow to see just how simple it is to make The Neely's Sweet Potato Souffle the Cookin' Lean way! (Yes, marshmellows included!) It just might be what your Turkey Day menu needs!



Saturday, November 19, 2011

Cooking Light with Giada De Laurentiis: Glazed Italian Donuts

Doughnuts are delicious. I have tried to tell myself for years that I don't really care for donuts that much. Well, that's just a lie. Just the smell of fresh donuts in the morning is pure torture for someone trying hard to avoid such a wonderful treat. They are delicious, yet traditionally...they are not so great for us.
Donuts are one of those things that many of us wish were healthier in some way. It's kinda tough to make something "lean" out of flour, butter and sugar that is fried in oil and smothered in more sugar. My friend Pam and I took a stab at it with a little inspiration from Giada's Coffee-Glazed Italian Doughnuts and this is what we got. Try 'em out and let us know what you think!

Lemon Glazed Italian Donuts
Serves 6

INGREDIENTS
  • 6 tablespoons "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter"
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup SPLENDA with Fiber
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup WHOLE WHEAT flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Original Egg Beaters
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest (1 lemon)
  • Cooking spray
Glaze...
  • 1/4 cup Fat Free half-and-half
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
DIRECTIONS

For the doughnuts: In a medium saucepan, combine the ICBINB, water, SPLENDA, and salt over medium heat. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring occasionally. Boil for 10 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat and add the flour. Using a wooded spoon, quickly stir the mixture until all the flour (whole wheat and all-purpose) is fully incorporated and forms a thick dough. Return the pan to the heat and stir continuously for 2 minutes. Scrape the mixture into a stand mixture fitted with a paddle attachment. With the machine running on medium speed, add the Egg Beaters and egg yolk, 1 at a time until fully incorporated. Beat the mixture for 4 to 5 minutes until thick and glossy. Add the lemon zest and beat until smooth. Refrigerate the dough for 15 minutes.


For the glaze: In a medium bowl, whisk together the fat free half-&-half and powdered sugar until smooth. Whisk in lemon juice. If the glaze is too thick, stir in the water, 1/4 teaspoon at a time.

Prepare a mini-muffin pan by spraying with a non-fat cooking spray. Drop in doughnut dough into each muffin cup; filling about 2/3 of the way up. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until dough has puffed up and slightly golden.
Repeat until all of the dough has been used. When they have cooled enough to handle, dip the top halves in the glaze.

Using a hand grater, grate a tiny bit of lemon zest over serving plates. Place 3 to 4 donuts on each plate and garnish with fresh raspberries or lemon twist, if using. Serve immediately.


RESULTS

So, so, SO good! We loved them. To test out exactly how the "lean" version compared to the original, we made both. Now, Giada's version is fabulous! Naturally...she's a Food Network Star and fried donuts are delish. But minus a ton of fat and sugar, our version stood up really well next to the original! I liked how the baking method and use of lemon gave each of our doughnuts such a light and crisp taste. And these are two words not often used to describe the taste of a doughnut. They came out great and gave us proof that doughnuts can be guilt-free!

Here are how they turned out nutritionally speaking...

NUTRITION FACTS (per serving of 4 mini donuts):

4 Mini Glazed Krispy Creme Donuts: 360 calories / 25g fat / 40g carbohydrate / 0g protein / 0g fiber

4 Cookin' Lean Mini Donuts: 254 calories / 9.2g fat / 39.4g carbs / 6.2g protein / 3.5g fiber

SAVES: 106 calories & 15.8g fat 
ADDS: 6.2g protein & 3.5g fiber

Normally I like to figure out the exact nutritional information using the exact original recipe, but it's really tough to figure the facts for fried dishes. For example, Giada just calls for vegetable oil for frying; enough to fill a pan 1/3 of the way full. How much is that? Not all goes into the food? See the issue here. So instead of messing with all of that, I simply found the nutritional facts for an average mini glazed donut from www.myfitnesspal.com. I used the facts from Krispy Kreme to do the comparison this time. As you can see, the baked-made at home version wins again! Next time I make these, I am going to try out this new butter substitute I found from Sunsweet called Lighter Bake. Ever try it? I'm gonna give it a whirl and let you know how it works.

Have a beautiful Saturday! So far I have one Thanksgiving dish makeover request for Sweet Potato Casserole. Any more? Get 'em in quick! Turkey Day is almost here!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Livin' Lean Topic Tuesday: Trim Down Turkey Time

It's almost time to start the most food-filled time of the year! From Thanksgiving to New Years Day can feel like a 5-1/2 week long buffet! Thanksgiving is just over a week away and I am already hearing references to "finding fat pants" and "falling into food comas". Yes, this is a time when it is expected to let loose a little, have fun and maybe indulge a bit. But as we know, there are ways to make our favorite dishes without completely blowing our nutritional budget.



I wanna hear from you!

What's your favorite, fat-filled, gravy-laced, breaded, fried or sugar covered Thanksgiving dish?

Would you like to see it done "Cookin' Lean Style"?

Paula Deen's Lean: Fried Bacon Mashed Potatoes
Challenge me. Tell me what you crave for Turkey Day and I will test it out before the guests arrive next Thursday.

I can't do 'em all, so the first few in will get the makeover. You know I love my Food Network Stars, so if it is one of their recipes...even better!

I'm pumped to see what your favorite Thanksgiving dishes are. I'm even more excited to try them in the Cookin' Lean Kitchen!

Start thinkin' and post those requests!


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Livin' Lean Topic Tuesday: Sweatin' in Style = Zweet

My friend Marja and I grew up across the street from one another. Like most kids, we both loved playing outside. In elementary school, it started with riding bikes, rollerblading, TV tag and riding on skateboards down the hill on our street. In high school, it was varsity volleyball. It was all about what we were doing, and not necessarily about what we were wearing. As we got older, things did change. It took me a little longer to catch on, but Marja was always ahead of the fashion curve. I do believe it was Marja who taught me in elementary school that socks should match your outfit. Seems basic now, but it was mind-blowing at the time. I needed the fashion advice back then and thank goodness she was there to help. Well, once again Marja has come to the rescue with her new line of high-end fitness apparel.

Some Zweet stylish sport wear!

I am so happy to introduce you to Zweet Sport!

Here is a little about Zweet and their vision...

Zweet Sport is a high end active wear company that is dedicated to providing fashion forward designs with incredible fit. We carefully select every element that is incorporated into our products, as we feel that quality doesn’t just come from the way a garment looks, but also how it feels. Zweet Sport’s collection is ideal for any fitness or sports activity, as all of our garments provide a wicking agent that keeps skin feeling dry. Our garments will not sag or lose shape once damp from perspiration, nor will they lose their original fit. In addition to that, Zweet Sport is committed to supporting the green initiative. We purposely do not package our products in any type of plastic, cellophane, or harsh non-biodegradable material.

Their vision...

At Zweet Sport, we demand and expect the very best out of each and every product we deliver. We are dedicated to providing high quality, fashion focused designs that promote the inner athlete in all of us.


Marja and co-owner Kimberly are two women that have created Zweet Sport from a passion for living a healthy lifestyle "oh-so fashionably". Take a look at the line and see what I mean!  These two women have put so much into every part of this venture; right down to each stitch. It's amazing to see someone I know take an idea and make it a reality with hard work and perseverance.


I wanted to review this line because Marja is my childhood friend and I am sooo excited for her. I also reviewed Zweet Sport because I believe in what they are doing!

It's high-end, yet affordable. It looks amazing. It feels amazing. It is amazing!

As they put it, it's where "Fashion Meets Function".

To see more about Zweet sport and to view the collection visit http://www.zweetsport.com/ .

Find Zweet on Twitter and Facebook too!

Congratulations Marja, Kimberly, Ariana and the Zweet Sport team! You gals have something really great here!


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Paula Deen's Lean: Pumpkin Bars

I promised this recipe last week, but as I was posting on Saturday..we lost power. Why? Because it was SNOWING! Snowing in October! That is a first for me as a Virginia resident. I love snow, but not quite sure I was ready for this. So, sorry friends.

Here you have it! Your newest, leanest, Paula Deen inspired sweet treat for this fall. Enjoy it without an ounce of guilt!!


PUMPKIN BARS
Serves 24
Original recipe courtesy Patty Ronning as adapted by Paula Deen

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup Egg Beaters (Original)
  • 1 cup natural apple sauce
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin
  • 1 cup Splenda with Fiber
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup sifted WHOLE WHEAT flour
  • 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
Icing~
  • 8 ounces FAT FREE Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
  • 4 ounces "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter", softened
  • 1 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the Egg Beaters, sugar and Splenda, apple sauce and pumpkin until light and fluffy; using an electric mixer.

Stir together the flours, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture.



Mix on a low speed until the batter is smooth. Spread the batter into a prepared 13 X 10-inch baking pan. Prepare the lean way by using a fat free cooking spray. 


Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting.


To make the icing: Combine the fat free cream cheese and "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" in a medium bowl. Use an electric mixer for this too and mix until smooth. Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined. Stir in the vanilla and mix again.



Spread on cooled pumpkin cake/bars.

RESULTS

They didn't come out as "bars". They were more like a cake. Still...this recipe is absolutely delicious. It's a top 5 for desserts. If you are in the mood for some fall baking, then print off this recipe and get going!


And the fun part...


Look at what you will save by making a few simple switches!

NUTRITION FACTS (per serving):

BEFORE: 291.8 calories / 17.2g fat / 32.2g carbohydrate / 3.1g protein / .8g fiber

AFTER: 121.8 calories / 2.3g fat / 23.9g carbohydrate / 2.4g protein / 3.3g fiber

SAVES: 170 calories / 14.9g fat / 8.3g carbohydrate & ADDS: 2.5g fiber


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Livin' Lean Topic Tuesday: Time to Get Back On Track

Many of us have gotten into some sort of healthy routine. We find a workout we enjoy. We adapt to make eating healthy a priority. Things are going great, we are feeling great, we are lookin' great...and then life happens. Stress builds up. We allow a "treat day" to become everyday. Schedules change and we lose time for exercise. The occasional "order in" night becomes a 3X/week occurrence.
It's OK.

Don't stress.

Just reset and get back on track.

My 1 Diet Coke a day was becoming 3-4. Everything is OK in moderation, but this is a bit ridiculous. So...I am staying away from my favorite little treat for a few weeks. I want to reset my body and my brain so that Diet Coke is my treat, not my go-to beverage of choice.

It's been three days. So far, so good! If you find yourself off track, it's never too late to get back on!

Have a great Tuesday!!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Livin' Lean Topic Tuesday: My Cakes Got Sauce

Starting around this time of the year, fall, is when I like to do the most baking. The smell of cinnamon and nutmeg, pumpkin and apple fill the house and completely put me into a state of bliss. I love it! Yankee candle was totally onto something when they put those same fragrances into a jar. Brilliant!

Back to today's topic...cakes with sauce.

Friday night, my friends Pam, Claire and I had a girl's night in. What did we do? Bake and drink wine, of course! On the menu were Giada's donuts and Paula's Pumpkin Bars (both recipes coming this week). The mission was to take these delicious, yet sinful treats and make them lean. I have great news. We did it!

As I was figuring the nutritional facts for the Pumpkin cake last night, I made a shocking discovery. The amount of vegetable oil in the original recipe was 1,927 calories & 218g of fat!! Now, yes, this is divided up into 24 servings. However, by subbing the exact amount of natural apple sauce (1 cup), we are now looking at 50 calories and 0g of fat...divided by 24. Amazing, right? You can save soooo much and the cake still tastes fantastic! Some would say, "even better"!

The lesson here is that when baking brownies or baking a cake, make sure your cakes got sauce!

Have a fabulous Tuesday!

Don't forget to stop by later this week for some healthy donuts with lemon glaze and Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Icing!! You might decide to have a night in with your friends for a little wine and baking. Cheers to that!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Paula Deen's Lean: Taco Salad

Need a quick dinner for a busy weeknight? Try this one! We love anything tacos, burritos, quesadillas in our house. This is why I had to try Paula Deen's Taco Salad. With a short list of ingredients and directions consisting of only FIVE sentences...I knew it was the perfect dish our crazy schedule. This dish is extremely easy to make lean. Check it out!



TACO SALAD
Serves 8


INGREDIENTS
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 pound (4 ounces) 2 % sharp Cheddar, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, washed, drained and shredded
  • 1 pound EXTRA lean ground beef (96/4), browned, crumbled and drained
  • 1 cup KRAFT Fat Free Catalina salad dressing
  • 2 cups Tostitos Baked Tortilla chips, crushed
  • 1 cup salsa
  • Baked Tortilla chips, to serve
DIRECTIONS







In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, cheese, onion, lettuce, and extra lean ground beef.






Add Catalina dressing and mix well.



Just before serving, add the Baked Tostito Chips, tossing to combine with other ingredients. Top each serving with spoonful of salsa. 



RESULTS

We all loved this dish because it tasted great! I loved it because it took about 20 minutes to throw together and it was very easy to make lean. The next time I make it, I am going to try mixing iceberg lettuce with some spinach. This will add a little more nutrition in the form of vitamins and fiber. There really isn't much to iceberg lettuce. Throwing in some spinach won't impact the taste, but it will add more of the good stuff our bodies need!


Check out the difference in nutrition facts just by using a fat free dressing, extra lean beef and a little less cheese. I was wowed by the decrease in fat. The carbs went up, but that is because fat free dressings compensate with a little more sugar. In this case, I think it is well worth it!


NUTRITION FACTS (Per Serving):


BEFORE: 521.38 calories/37g fat/  27.56g carbohydrate / 21.97g protein / 3.26g fiber


AFTER: 245.38 calories/ 5.4g fat/  31.12g carbohydrate / 18.32g protein / 3.75g fiber


SAVES: 276 calories and 31.6g fat

Enjoy & have a fabulous weekend!! 


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Livin' Lean Topic Tuesday: Eating is a Priority

Of course eating is a priority...at least it should be. Consuming food is one of our basic needs. It keeps us alive. So how come cleaning, running errands, party planning or doing homework seem to take priority over such an important thing? Because they just do. I will be first to admit that I am soooo guilty of getting wrapped up in what I'm doing. Fueling my body just doesn't enter into my mind. That is, until I am blind sided by faint feelings or extreme hunger! I know it shouldn't get to that, but the truth is, it does. Not all the time, but sometimes. It's not intentional. Time just gets away from me...and those times are almost always on a Saturday.



Saturdays are my days to cram as many productive and fun things as I can all in about 16 hours. You would think I'd work in a fun meal somewhere, right? I usually do, but one meal isn't enough. To keep our bodies happy, we should be eating 100-300 calories every 3 hours; making each snack or mini-meal a good balance of fat, protein and carbohydrates. When we go long periods without food, our body thinks we are starving and therefore slows that metabolism down. The next time we do eat, the body tries to hold on more to that energy; afraid it may be a long time before eating again. Basically, the body stores fat and we don't want that. But aside from all this, when we don't eat, we feel sluggish and are unable to think clearly. Just a simple 110 calorie Pria bar is all it takes to turn things around if you find yourself reaching 3-4 hours without food. It sounds so simple, but it takes effort.
It takes some planning. It involves being prepared. I am able to do this during the week, so I really need to focus on doing this over the weekends too. Especially on those days where it is go-go-go, non-stop, running around. There is no excuse for not properly meeting our basic needs. I take time to feed my daughter, so there should be time to feed me too!

We are busy people, but there is always time to eat! Many stores are selling items that make eating-on-the-go easier for health conscious people. Saturday is a good time to take advantage of this. I'm really going to make a conscious effort to work on this. I'll let ya know how it goes.

Have a fabulous Tuesday!!

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