Friday, May 22, 2009

Guacamole without the Guilt

I adore a good guacamole, piled high on top of a tortilla chip, or with raw veggies for dipping, even as a sandwich spread...
but man, the fat content in avocados is crazy high! 1 cup of pureed avocado has a whopping 35 grams of fat. Granted, it's not as unhealthy of a fat as some, but's fat and calorie dense.
Asparagus, on the other hand, has "0" fat. Yay! And you know what, even people who hate asparagus usually like this recipe I'm about to give you, and have no clue that it's not just regular guacamole.

Taste of Home Asparagus Guacamole


  • 1 pound fresh asparagus trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/3 cup chopped seeded tomato (you can also use a chunky salsa, but drain it if it's very watery)
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon minced fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 6 drops hot pepper sauce
  • Assorted raw vegetables and tortilla chips


Place 1/2 in. of water and asparagus in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until tender. Drain; place asparagus in a blender or food processor. Add onion and garlic; cover and process until smooth.
In a bowl, combine tomato, mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt, cilantro, chili powder and hot pepper sauce. Stir in the asparagus mixture until blended. Serve with vegetables and chips. Refrigerate leftovers; stir before serving. Yield: 2 cups.

Check out these nutrition facts:
Nutrition Facts

* One serving:
* (1/3 cup guacamole)

* Calories:
* 42

* Fat:
* 2 g

* Saturated Fat:
* 0 g

* Cholesterol:
* 2 mg

* Sodium:
* 240 mg

* Carbohydrate:
* 5 g

* Fiber:
* 1 g

* Protein:
* 3 g

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The magical cruciferous veggie: Cauliflower!

Let's face it, white rice and mashed potatoes are delicious side dishes but not so great for us in terms of weight control. But don't despair...there is a fabulous susbstitute that comes pretty darn close to both rice and potato...and it's cauliflower! Don't laugh! Just read on and see how the magic happens. But first, a little about our friend, cauliflower:

Cauliflower is low in fat, high in dietary fiber, folate, water and vitamin C, possessing a very high nutritional density. As a member of the brassica family, cauliflower shares with broccoli and cabbage several phytochemicals which are beneficial to human health, including sulforaphane, an anti-cancer compound released when cauliflower is chopped or chewed. In addition, the compound indole-3-carbinol, which appears to work as an anti-estrogen, appears to slow or prevent the growth of tumors of the breast and prostate. Cauliflower also contains other glucosinolates besides sulfurophane, substances which may improve the liver's ability to detoxify carcinogenic substances. A high intake of cauliflower has been found to reduce the risk of aggressive prostate cancer. Sounds like we should be eating a lot of it! :) onto how cauliflower replaces mashed potatoes and rice:

Mashed Faux-tatoes

2 pounds cauliflower, trimmed
sea salt
1/4 cup whipping cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup cream cheese


Cut the cauliflower, including the core, into 1-inch pieces. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt lightly. Add the cauliflower and cook over medium heat until completely tender, 20 minutes to 30 minutes. Drain cauliflower in a colander. With a bowl or small plate, press on the cauliflower to remove all water. Toss the cauliflower and continue pressing out the water. This step is very important to the texture of the dish. Transfer the cauliflower to a food processor, or a blender. Add the cream and puree until completely smooth. If you like a chunkier texture, mash by hand, adding the cream after cauliflower is mashed. Return to pot. When you are ready to serve, heat over low heat, stirring constantly. Add the butter, parmesan and cream cheese. Stir until incorporated. Season to taste with salt, if necessary. Serve immediately.

For "rice" just put the cauliflower through the food processor or chop by hand to a semi fine consistency. You can now steam, microwave or sauté with butter, but make sure not to overcook it.
Bonus recipe, just because it's so darn delicious!

Roasted Cauliflower


* 1 head of cauliflower
* 2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and coarsely minced
* Lemon juice (from 1/2 or a whole lemon)
* Olive oil
* Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
* Parmesan cheese


1 Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut cauliflower into florets and put in a single layer in an oven-proof baking dish. Toss in the garlic. Squeeze lemon juice over cauliflower and drizzle each piece with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. If the oven hasn't reached 400°F yet, set aside until it has.

2 Place casserole in the hot oven, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is lightly brown. Test with a fork for desired doneness. Fork tines should be able to easily pierce the cauliflower. Remove from oven and sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Monday, May 18, 2009

And again with the least I think it's gorgeous!!

China Glaze nail laquer in a gorgeous Tiffany Blue color, aptly named "For Audrey" is one of my current faves!
I'm a big fan of China Glaze nail polish to begin with, so when I saw this gorgeous color, an amazing dupe of the gorgeous blue boxes from Tiffany & Co., I had to grab it...and then when I saw the name, and realized it wasn't just my imagination, it really was Tiffany blue and named in honor of Audrey Hepburn and her 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' character "Holly Golightly" - well, it was a must have!
I'm not usually big on creme or matte colored nail polishes...I tend to like a little shimmer there, but "For Audrey" is an exception! Also looks FABULOUS on my toes! haha!
This is a perfect match to the bottle after 2 coats and like almost all of China Glaze's colors, lasts very well. At less than 5 dollars a bottle from Sally's Beauty Supply, I highly recommend China Glaze. If you're lucky, you'll hit one of the BOGO sales that Sally's has on China Glaze from time to time.
Not to shake my finger at O.P.I. nail polish, but I pay about 8 bucks a bottle for their brand and it almost *always* chips faster than China Glaze. (But I still LOVE LOVE LOVE so many of O.P.I. colors, so I won't stop buying them!)

Healthy Cookies using your Endangered Species Chocolate!

Chocolate Chunk Cookies - Healthy & NOT FATTENING!

Preheat oven to 375°F.


4 Endangered Species Extreme Dark Chocolate Bars, chopped into small chunks

1 cup (2 sticks) Butter, softened

1.5 Cups Splenda (or equivalent of whatever kind of sweetener you prefer...I know many claim Splenda is evil, but it works for me.)

1.5 tsp Blackstrap or Dark Molasses
2 eggs
1 Cup almond flour (aprox 2/3 C raw almonds ground fine in food processor or coffee grinder yields about 1 Cup almond flour)
1 Cup vanilla whey protein powder (I buy mine at GNC when it's on sale, Wal-Mart when it's not)

1/4 Cup Oat bran
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

1 Cup chopped walnuts or pecans (this is optional, but I love using pecans in mine.(

Using an electric mixer, beat butter, Splenda, and molasses until creamy and well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition. In a separate bowl, stir together ground almonds, vanilla whey protein powder, oat bran, baking soda and salt. Add this mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time, to butter/Splenda mixture, beating well after each addition, until it is all beaten in. Stir in nuts and chopped chocolate bars. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto cookie sheets sprayed with non stick spray.
*These will not spread and flatten as much as standard chocolate chip cookies, so if you want them flat, you'll have to flatten them a bit.

Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Give me Chocolate, or give me Death!

Listen...I'm serious about chocolate, but it's not always the best thing for a girl who's watching her figure. Then I found a way to enjoy some of the best chocolate I've ever had, and at the same time, help save endangered species! Wow! Is this a dream? Nope.
Endangered Species Chocolate is ABSOLUTELY AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS chocolate. My favorite, and what I would recommend to others, is "The Leopard and the Jaguar" Extreme Dark Chocolate with 88% cocoa content. This is not for the faint of heart or casual chocolate lover. This bar is to chocolate like a double-shot of Segafredo Zanetti Extra-Strong Espresso is to coffee.
The bar is divided into 15 bite sized squares. I usually eat one little square of this chocolate to curb a craving, and am satisfied! Now for the numbers: One serving size (according to the package) is half of a bar, which would equal seven and a half little squares. In this half a bar are only 8 net carbs. That number by itself is great...and when you just nibble on a square here and there, the numbers are fantastic. The reason the carb/sugar content is so low is because the actual cocoa content is so high.
Another perk is that the company making this chocolate promises 100% ethical trading, ensuring cocoa farmers humane working conditions and a fair price for their cocoa. Plus 10% of the net profits from each bar is donated to help support endangered species, habitat and humanity.
A 3 ounce bar cost about $3, and is well worth it. They are even carrying them in the more modern Food Lions, in the gourmet/organic food section.
Now, I do have to say that some people, whom I will refer to as "chocolate wimps" cannot handle the 88% bar. For them, I recommend the 72% cocoa bar, the Chimpanzee bar. Just remember that the lower the cocoa content, the higher the sugar/carb content.
One last thing, I recently tried the Dark Chocolate with Deep Forest Mint and it was TO DIE FOR, too!
Find out more about this yummy chocolate at:

Sneak this into the movie theater!

Who says going to the movie theater can't mean healthy snacking? Whenever I go, there's always a ziploc bag full of yummy roasted edemame hidden away in my bag.
We all know that movie theater popcorn is unhealthy, but after my son had a summer job working at our local movie house, I realized the popcorn is not only a bad choice nutritionally, but probably not as sanitary as I like my food. (Sorry movie theater owners, but you know it's true!)
Now I say I "sneak" my snacks in, but in reality, ours and most theaters in the US have a policy that allows food from outside to be brought in by people on special diets, etc...
I often choose edamame because it's a portable, yummy, "finger food" that just happens to be good for you as well. What is edamame, you ask? It's baby soybeans! The word "edamame" means "beans on branches" and it grows in clusters on bushy branches. To retain the freshness and its natural flavor, it is parboiled and quick-frozen. In East Asia, the soybean has been used for over two thousand years as a major source of protein. Edamame is consumed as a snack, a vegetable dish, used in soups or processed into sweets. As a snack, which is my favorite way to consume it, the pods are lightly boiled in salted water, and then the seeds are squeezed directly from the pods into the mouth with the fingers. Even better, in my opinion, is when you roast the beans with spicy seasonings like chili powder and cumin...or for a more powerful kick, wasabi!!
Now for the nutrition facts: A half a cup of edamame has only 100 calories, 3 grams of fat, 9 carbs with 4 grams of fiber, leaving a net carb count of only 5 for a HALF CUP! Plus, that half cup packs a whopping 8 grams of protein.
So...give it a's a recipe to get you started...try it and sneak it into a good movie:

Roasted Edamame




  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In small bowl, stir together oil, basil, chili powder, onion salt, cumin, paprika and black pepper.
  3. Drizzle mixture over soybeans and toss to coat well.
  4. Arrange beans in a single layer in a shallow baking dish.
  5. Roast, uncovered, for 12 to 15 minutes, stirring once, until soybeans begin to brown.
  6. Serve hot as a vegetable side dish or cooled as a snack.
  7. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

And now for something pretty...and affordable, too!

L'Oreal Infallible Never Fail Lipgloss claims to last for 6 hours! Wow! OK...maybe it's me, but it did not last for 6 hours, but what it did do was impress me in regards to everything else about it...especially considering it's a drugstore lipgloss and only cost about 8 bucks. Seriously, this is a great gloss. Unlike so many other glosses, including some I've paid $18+ for, this really does stay on your lips for a good while, without touchups. It's very sticky/tacky, but not in a gross a way that helps it adhere to your lips and not just slide right off. It kind of "sets" right after you put it you can actually drink or eat and still have cute lips. I would say maybe for a couple of hours, but not 6. Still, 2 or 3 hours of gloss without touchups is pretty good, in my opinion. It comes in 16 shades, of which I bought 2; "Bloom" and "Barely Nude". I love them both. "Bloom" is a sheer rose-pink with subtle shimmer. "Barely Nude" is obviously a nude tone...and this has less shimmer, more of just a shiny "your lips but better" color. Another thing to point out about this gloss is the applicator. It's not your typical doe-foot style, but it's more of a teardrop shaped, flat applicator that seems to give better coverage in one sweep around. Would I buy this again? Yes...I'm probably going to pick up a few more colors soon. A girl can never have too much lip gloss.

Friday, May 15, 2009

It's a grain! No, it's a seed! It's a complete protein!

Quinoa. Pronounced 'keen-wah' -- known in ancient Peru as "The Mother Grain" due to it's near nutritional perfection, is not a grain at all, it's actually the seed of a leafy plant in the same family as spinach, beets, and Swiss chard.
The quinoa seed is high in protein, calcium and iron, a relatively good source of vitamin E and several of the B vitamins. It contains an almost perfect balance of all eight essential amino acids needed for tissue development in humans. It is exceptionally high in lysine, cystine and methionine-amino acids typically low in other grains. It is a good complement for legumes, which are often low in methionine and cystine. The protein in quinoa is considered to be a complete protein due to the presence of all 8 essential amino acids. Quinoa also contains albumen, a protein that is found in egg whites, blood serum, and many plant and animal tissues. The seeds are gluten-free, and easily digestible which makes this a nutritious and flavorful alternative grain for those with gluten sensitivity.
You can use quinoa to replace just about any grain, in any recipe, or just serve it as a side dish with a little EVOO (or butter), salt & pepper. Quinoa has a delightful characteristic that is all it's own: as it cooks, the outer germ around each grain twists outward forming a little white, spiral tail, which is attached to the kernel. The grain itself is soft and delicate and the tail is crunchy which creates an interesting texture combination and pleasant "crunch" when eating it.

I buy my organic quinoa by the pound (3.99 a pound) at my local health food store. A pound of quinoa will make approximately 15-20 servings.

Lastly, here's a yummy recipe to get you started enjoying this nutritious, delicious, super food!

Black-Bean and Tomato Quinoa

yield: Makes 4 (side dish) servings

active time: 20 minutes
total time: 45 minutes


* 2 teaspoons grated lime zest
* 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
* 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
* 1 teaspoon sugar
* 1 cup quinoa
* 1 (14- to 15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
* 2 medium tomatoes, diced
* 4 scallions, chopped
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


Whisk together lime zest and juice, butter, oil, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4teaspoon pepper in a large bowl.

Wash quinoa in 3 changes of cold water in a bowl, draining in a sieve each time.

Cook quinoa in a medium pot of boiling salted water (1 tablespoon salt for 2 quarts water), uncovered, until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Drain in sieve, then set sieve in same pot with 1 inch of simmering water (water should not touch bottom of sieve). Cover quinoa with a folded kitchen towel, then cover sieve with a lid (don't worry if lid doesn't fit tightly) and steam over medium heat until tender, fluffy, and dry, about 10 minutes. Remove pot from heat and remove lid. Let stand, still covered with towel, 5 minutes.

Add quinoa to dressing and toss until dressing is absorbed, then stir in remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste.