diet food

5 Fast, Fit and Festive Edible Christmas Trees

blog2 edible christmas trees

Looking for a festive addition to your holiday buffet that offers a tasty alternative to sugar-laden treats? Here are 5 colorful options that are fast, festive and easy on the calories. Presenting: EDIBLE CHRISTMAS TREES!

The kiwi tree comes complete with ornaments – with very little assembly required!

5 Fast, Fit and Festive Christmas Foods

If you want a little more drama, start with a styrofoam cone and some toothpicks to have your tree go vertical. Berries, melons, kiwis – plenty of fruit options to make your own masterpiece!

Fat Fit and Festive Edible Christmas Trees

For those impromptu gatherings, you probably have the ingredients for a vegetable tree in your fridge already. Sliced pepper stems, cauliflower tree lights, broccoli floret greens all make great substitutions for the cucumber/carrot/tomato version shown. While a click on the picture gets you to the site it originated from, I couldn’t find the specific link for this  tree. I suspect you’ll be okay on this one without specific instructions!

Fast Fit and Festive Edible Christmas Tree

Does it get easier than a one-fruit tree that’s naturally decorated in Christmas colors?? Click on the picture for Eating Vibrantly’s suggestion on attaching the “tree trunk.”

Fast Fit and Festive Edible Christmas Trees

These pita trees are a great choice for an appetizer to contribute to the office party or family potluck. You will arrive knowing that no matter what is on the buffet, you have a great choice to snack on. They look artful and the recipe is an easy mix of seasoning, fat-free sour cream and guacamole. This substantive finger-food is a calorie bargain at only 30 per tree!

Fast Fit Festive Edible Christmas Trees

Christmas Trees never tasted so good!

Eating Right – the 5 Best Tips We’ve Heard All Year!

Eating Right - the 5 Best Tips We've Hear All Year!

 

1. Relocation. Crispers are where fresh fruit and vegetable go to wither. It’s magical. How many times have you put a perfectly good grapefruit in a crisper drawer, only to pull out a soggy ball a mere two months later? Or some crisp green celery goes in and limp white strings are what meet you when slide open the drawer? Out of sight, out of mind. Move the fruits and veggies out of the crispers and put them on the top shelf where their cheery colors and wish-it-were-me firmness is the first thing you see when you open the door. Use those drawers to store the treats and pizza makings that shouldn’t be so quick to disappear!

2. Quinoa -it’s not just for dinner any more. Quinoa makes a great breakfast – think “oatmeal substitute.” Cook it as usual, add milk at the end and let simmer until it thickens. Top off with your breakfast “condiments” such as dried fruit, berries, cinnamon, honey, nuts, seeds, coconut or the like for the perfect porridge.

3. Car nosh. When fast food is calling out to you during your drive, you can avoid the lure by grabbing some nuts that you have prepackaged for just such an occasion and tucked into your glove compartment or console. If you like things a little sweet, toss in some dried fruit or fool your palette with some cocoa-dusted almonds – they have no added sugar and the dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants.

4. User friendly. Have those relocated goodies easy to grab on the run. Grapes washed and plucked, celery sliced, cucumbers peeled. Take that see-it-first psychology a step further and freeze some of those grapes on a baking sheet. When frozen toss them into an easy-open freezer bag and place them up front and center in your freezer for an instant sorbet-like sweet treat.

5. Bread spread. How about some seasoned hummus instead of that mayo or as a nutritious add on to your sandwich? Get it pre-made in a variety of flavors or make your own by pureeing chickpeas and stirring in a few ingredients like those set forth in this Real Simple 5-Minute Hummus Recipe.

DIET TIP #254:  Don't rush your food.

DIET TIP #254:
Don’t rush your food.

What’s the best tip you’ve heard this year?

 

Eat Your Vegetables – or Try Something New!

Eat Your Vegetables or Try Something NewI confess that eating my vegetables is something that I have to make a point of doing. I don’t care for most cooked vegetables. If the texture is less than crisp and it’s not corn-on-the-cob, you’ve pretty much lost me. I do enjoy salads with a variety of raw veggies and I continue to add to the raw repertoire, but salads are time consuming to make and (the way I like them) have a lot of ingredients.

And I’m bored with my go-to steamed broccoli or green beans. So I thought something that might motivate me to include more vegetables – maybe something that could be grilled or steamed – in my main meal of the day, is to try something that’s new to me. Here’s 7 that I’m considering.

1. Okinawan purple sweet potato – I’ve tried to like regular sweet potatoes but, unless they’re pumped up with brown sugar and served in a pie crust, it hasn’t worked for me. However, I understand the purple version tastes different – it supposedly has a sweet, nutty flavor. It’s touted as being high in vitamin C, folate, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and antioxidants. Apparently preparation is comparable to regular potatoes – bake, steam, boil, etc. I even saw a gnocchi recipe for them. Really? Purple gnocci? Hmmmm.

Eat Your Vegetables

2. Romanesco – It kind of looks like a sea creature to me. It’s closely related to both broccoli and cauliflower, but is reportedly much milder and sweeter than either. Although its appearance is intimidating, romanesco is apparently versatile and as easy to prepare as broccoli. In spite of its Italian origin and name, I’m having a little trouble picturing it served with spaghetti!

Eat Your Vegetables

3. Kohlrabi – Even though I’m not crazy about cooked cabbage, my curiosity was peaked by this ‘cousin’ when I saw it referred to as a ‘nutritional powerhouse’ with it’s high levels of vitamin C and and fiber.  Reportedly tasty both raw and cooked, it needs to be peeled thoroughly — the top two layers need to be removed.

 

Eat Your Vegetables

4. Sea Beans – Don’t confuse these with seaweed – they’re not really from the sea. But they are found in salt marshes, beaches and mangroves. They’re described as quite salty with a crunch like sugar snap peas. While I don’t really need to find more vegetables I like raw, in addition to being good in salads they are apparently popular additions to stir-frys and are good steamed and lightly dressed. No need to add salt to this one. As a matter of fact, it may not be a good choice for those who need to watch their sodium intake.

 

Eat Your Vegetables

5. Parsnips – Based on its look, it’s not surprising that it is related to the carrot, but did you know it’s also related to parsley? Parsnips are touted as being high in vitamins and minerals (especially potassium) and containing antioxidants as well as both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. Nice, but not nearly as impressive as the fact that they were once used as a sweetener in Europe before cane sugar was available. Mmmm, vegetable candy!

Eat Your Vegetables6. Watermelon Cucumbers – even though they’re not sour, they are sometimes referred to as a Mexican Sour Gherkin because they’re native to Mexico and South America and used to make pickles. These crunchy cucumbers have been described as having a slightly sweet, refreshing flavor with a hint of lemon. Even though they are not a logical addition to my expanded can-be-cooked vegetable list, I am smitten by how cute these miniature watermelon look-alikes are and I couldn’t think of another way to work them into the conversation!

Eat Your Vegetables7. Kale Chips – As I shared with you earlier this year, I have started adding raw kale to my salads and smoothies. Now I’m ready to take the next kale step by baking it into a chip (although there is still no way I’ll be adding it to ice cream any time soon!) I’m kind of looking forward to trying this – it’s simple and fast. And it’s a ‘chip.’ I suspect it won’t taste as much like a potato chip as I’m hoping for, but if it has some crunch, I’m willing to give it a try with sandwiches. [Click on the picture to view a short video which shows how easy they are to make.]

Eat Your Vegetables

Which of these super veggies have you tried? Please share your likes, dislikes, veggie recommendations, and favorite methods of preparation.

10 Fun Lo-Cal and No-Cal Ideas for Fourth of July

10 Fun Lo-Cal and No-Cal Ideas for Fourth of JulyFor a fierce 4th of July celebration, check out these ideas that add guilt-free fun to your table!

 

 

1. Raise the flag! These raspberry/mini-marshamallow/blueberry skewers are so easy to do you can have several edible flags adorning your table for a fat-free treat that’s big on sweet while skimping on calories.

 

 

10 Fun Lo-Cal and No-Cal Ideas for Fourth of July

 

 

2. What goes with hot corn on the cob? Really fun cornholders. Who knew there were so many options?? Click HERE for a collection of 10 that range from flip flops to unicorns!

10 Fun Lo-Cal and No-Cal Ideas for Fourth of July

 3.  Smoked Cherry Bombs – an out-of-the ordinary dessert. Don’t let the ‘smoke’ throw you – the instructions explain how they can easily be smoked right on your stove. A 93-calorie crunchy delight!

10 Fun Lo-Cal and No-Cal Ideas for Fourth of July

4. Fast and patriotic. This bandana table cloth can be stitched together by matching up bandana sides or purchased on etsy.com 10 Fun Lo-Cal and No-Cal Ideas for Fourth of July

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. A table cover alternative. Trim something plain with bandanas and hot glue on some jean pockets for utensil holders that won’t blow off the table!

10 Fun Lo-Cal and No-Cal Ideas for Fourth of July

6. Red, white and blue potato salad?! Yes – not only is it a light version, it can be made a day ahead!

10 Fun Lo-Cal and No-Cal Ideas for Fourth of July

 

7. Add some sparkle – try this easy-to-make “sparkler” centerpiece. (Click HERE for directions)

10 Fun Lo-Cal and No-Cal Ideas for Fourth of July

 

8. For a quick make-ahead dessert, these colorful flavored meringues are fat free!

10 Fun Lo-Cal and No-Cal Ideas for Fourth of July

 

9. A sucker that’s good for you? Watermelon just got more fun and easier to eat! (Image credit)

 

10 Fun Lo-Cal and No-Cal Ideas for Fourth of July

10 Fun Lo-Cal and No-Cal Ideas for Fourth of July10. LIghten and load. To reduce the calorie count of your lemonade while adding a healthy boost, add some sparkling water and load up with fruit ice cubes.

 

 

HOPE YOUR FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATION SIZZLES!

 

5 Reasons I Stopped Screaming for Ice Cream

Ice cream confessionI love ice cream. My favorite flavor since childhood is coffee. There was a time when I gave directions based on ice cream parlors (as in go the Baskin Robbins and turn left, head north until you hit the Dairy Queen . .  ) I even love the pretend-healthy version of ice cream known as frozen yogurt. But I know that my beloved ice cream – or, rather, the eating thereof – stands in the way of getting to the level of fierce I want to achieve. So I know that I need to keep portions small and infrequent. I wondered if the task would ever get easy. Then I discovered these five new products. Just the little incentive I needed. Five reasons that I have stopped screaming for ice cream.

1. Tomato goes better with spaghetti. Haagen-Dazs will be unleashing this new flavor on an unsuspecting Japan next month.

Tomato ice cream

2. Do rabbits eat ice cream?? If tomato isn’t close enough to a vegetable for you, there’s Haagen-Dazs second new flavor: Carrot Ice Cream. Shouldn’t the word ‘cake’ be somewhere around here?

Carrot ice cream

3. Do we top with chocolate sauce or salsa? And just as important, does it look like pea soup when it melts? Neither chocolate nor salsa is going to look good in that!

Avocado ice cream

4. Really? It took me over 50 years to eat kale on purpose. Won over by the repeated sightings of kale on ‘superfood’ lists, I have started lacing my salad greens with it and burying a leaf or two in my smoothies. But don’t even think you can mix up kale with some milk and sell it to me as a form of ice cream!

Kale milkshake

5. What the . . . . ? OK, you can’t even eat this one. I don’t care if it doesn’t have any calories – there’s nothing satisfying about it!

Get the 'recipe' at homegrownfriends.com

Get the ‘recipe’ at homegrownfriends.com

 

My reality: 

Ice cream diet

I’m willing to make changes to get fierce. I really am. I have added vegetables to each meal. I have added vegetables to my smoothies. I have even added vegetable purees to baked goods. But I will not, cannot, shall not, add vegetables to my ice cream.  -El

Is there a particular food that hampers your journey toward feirecedom?

10 Fun No-Cal and Lo-Cal Ideas for Your Easter Table

10 Fun Lo-Cal and No-Cal Ideas for your Easter Table Gathering around the table with family and friends on this very special holiday doesn’t have to be a diet-buster. Here are 10 No-Cal and Lo-Cal ideas for you to indulge in at your Easter table.

1. Tomato Tulip Appetizers. Use 13 large cherry or small Roma tomatoes. You can stuff with any variety of soft cheese as well as egg, chicken or tuna salad. The stems are green onions. The original recipe, found on the Polish blog Biblia Smakow, used farmers or cottage cheese, a chopped cucumber, 1/2 teaspoon of dried basil, salt and pepper for the filling.

Tomato tulips

 

2. Easter Carrot Pots. Carrots ‘planted’ in hummus is a delightful way to eat your veggies! The recipe for the hummus is here, but already-prepared hummus will work just fine, too.

Easter carrot pot

 

3. Carrots in the carrot. Using carrot chips, this carrot can simply be planted on the table without the pots.

Easter carrot

 

4. Deviled Egg Chicks. Click here for recipe and instructions.

Deviled egg chicks

5. Bunny Face Plate. This one’s for the kids. The calorie count is zero when you’re not eating it yourself!

Easter for the kids

6. Peeps Centerpiece. Who would’ve thought candy could be no-cal?? Use pastel M&Ms as base, put smaller glass or candle holder in middle, and slide in bunny peeps.

Easter centerpiece

 

7. Egg Tapping Contest. Interesting dinner conversation is calorie free! How about suggesting an egg tapping contest to use up the colored eggs? Also known as egg-knocking. If, like me, you are hearing this for the first time, you can check out the very simple rules here.

Photo by Maida Owens. Courtesy of deepsouthmagazine.com

Photo by Maida Owens. Courtesy of deepsouthmagazine.com

 

8. Bunny folded napkins. So cute you won’t want to open them up to use! Click on picture for folding instructions.

Easter bunny napkin

9. Carrot Napkin. If your crowd is too big to make bunny napkins for, this simpler option from ourbestbites.com might be a better fit.

Carrot napkins

 

10. For Your Favorite Peeps. Are these Peeps versatile or what? Make this table favor by printing the saying on card stock, folding over a snack-bag containing four Peeps, and staple. About 100 calories if you eat them yourself. Calorie-free if you give them away – to your favorite Peeps!

Peeps Easter favor

 BONUS TIP: Right after Easter you can get all sorts of baskets for crazy low prices. Stock up to use as containers for some of the fantastic gift ideas we have coming up for you. Mother’s Day, Graduation Day, and Father’s Day are right around the corner!  -EL

 

*The cover table setting is from “$10 Easter Setting” at roundaboutshop.com

Friday Five – Kitchen Smarts

Friday Five at Fat-Bottom-Fifties Get Fierce

 

 

Five easy things to make your kitchen more’ healthy-person-user-friendly’ (I’m pretty sure that’s a word)

 

 

1. Smaller plates – I really think they work. Once I get my salad on it, there isn’t a lot of room for other things. Also, you can pick up cute smaller plates at the local Salvation Army store or at Marshall’s, TJ Maxx and they are sooooo fun.

How fun do these plates look!

How fun do these plates look!

2. Don’t eat family style – I know that sounds like you shouldn’t eat with your family – we all know it is so important to sit down as a family to eat as often as possible (OK – not eat as often as possible but sit together). This just means do not put all the food on the table. Fill the plates in the kitchen and take only them to the table, not the dishes filled with second helping possibilities.

 

Family Circus 11-28-10

 

3. Eat only in the kitchen – OMG, how many calories would I save if I was only allowed to eat sitting at the kitchen and/or dining room table!?!? That could be my whole diet plan right there – seriously I consume food all over my house!

couch potatoe Capture

4. Clear your counters – Not only does it make you feel good that your kitchen looks so clean and orderly, but there are no cookies in the cookie jar, M&Ms in the candy dish, – I could go on and on…

 

5. Non-food accessories – Now that the counters are clear, bring in some springtime. Pretty yellow tulips in a vase, fresh kitchen towels to brighten up the place, a small radio or cool stand for your IPod so you can play some groovy cool tunes while you cook. We all know dinner cooked at home is usually WAY healthier than take-out- brought-in.

Yellow Tulips Capture

Now go out there, make your kitchen fiercely smart and have a great weekend! – M

 

Confessional Monday – 3

I confess – I didn’t think I had anything to confess today!

Lucy and Ethel

But after consulting with friends… I offer up the following.

I confess, I actually like ‘diet food’ – salads, yogurt, fruit, grilled chicken, vegetables, salmon, brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa… The salad jar idea from Friday is now sitting in my fridge for my Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday lunch! My problem is that I also like the non-diet foods – cookies, cakes, brownies, ice cream… As a treat to myself, I am ridding the house of the non-diet foods. None of us really need them and they will be more of a treat if they only occur outside the home. I will confess to feeling quite virtuous for this which is sure to trip me up at some point!

Also, I confess, once upon a time I knitted – and worse yet – modeled (yes runway style), hotpants.

knitted hotpantsI’m not sure I looked as good in them as this young man (I’m assuming – although those legs do look more clean shaven than mine). And his may actually be crocheted, not sure but didn’t want to look much closer. Mine did feature ‘Dazzle’ yarn in pink with purple trim and peek-a-boo holes running down the considerably short sides. It was the 70’s, need I say more? There were white go-go boots involved also.

And lastly, just in case the previous confession left a bad taste in your mouth, I confess to really enjoying being in my mid 50’s. I have the freedom and confidence to do things that really interest me. No longer afraid what someone else may think of my latest interests. I’m OK with asking questions someone else may think are stupid. I have the time to spend knitting (no longer hotpants though), reading, taking long walks, taking a class at the local university just because. I don’t even care how goofy I look in my glasses!

These confessions may not seem related, and granted they are a bit random – however, hopefully you can each relate to at least one of them (I’m thinking the hot pants confession is going to be the common link).

Enjoy your week! -M

Coffe confessional_2