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Skinny Chocolate Peanut Butter Birthday Cupcakes

22 Apr
I'm getting hungry just looking at these little beauties.

I’m getting hungry just looking at these little beauties.

My husband turned the big 3-0 last week! Yay! Now, I still have approximately one year and four months until I hit that milestone, so I can enjoy taunting him that I’m still in my 20’s and he’s not. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, and he is one lucky man to have such a mature little wife.

Turning Cupcakes Into Low-Calorie Foods

When I asked my he wanted for his birthday dessert, my husband requested that I whip up a batch of cupcakes. Chocolate cupcakes to be specific. That’s when my mission to figure out how to make cupcakes in a healthier manner began.

If you’re thinking that I’m crazy and cupcakes cannot ever be placed in the low-calorie foods category, you are sorely mistaken my friend. I strongly believe that anything can be lightened up, including birthday cupcakes.

As usual when I’m looking for a delicious low-fat recipe, I headed to Skinnytaste and found exactly what I was looking for. And no, although the reindeer are pretty fantastic, I decided they probably weren’t appropriate for a 30 year old’s birthday. I’m certain this recipe will reappear at Christmas time though…

To turn cupcakes into healthy desserts, apparently all you have to do is alter the ingredients you add to boxed cake mix. Why didn’t I know about this years ago?! Instead of adding the standard vegetable oil, eggs, and water to the mix, you simply swap it for plain Greek yogurt, egg whites, and water. I used Pillsbury Sugar Free Devil’s Food Premium Cake Mix, but you can use any brand and flavor you desire.

Plain Greek yogurt is the most versatile food on the planet.

Plain Greek yogurt is the most versatile food on the planet.

So, if you dared to say that cupcakes can’t be turned into low calorie foods, eat these nutrition stats (per cupcake):

  • Calories: 87

  • Fat: 2.3g

  • Carbs: 19g

  • Protein: 2.8g

Magical Low-Fat Peanut Butter Frosting Recipe

Icing and cupcakes go together like hummus and pita bread — they need each other, because… they just do!

Unless I’m purposely trying to make the people I’m feeding fat, I’m a firm believer in not buying canned icing. Admittedly, it’s good, but it’s so bad for you that I can’t justify it when finding a low-fat frosting recipe is so easy.

My husband and I are both obsessed with peanut butter, so I knew I’d score some points on the awesome wife scale if I could find a frosting recipe made from this creamy deliciousness. And voila, I found this amazing Low-Fat Peanut Butter Frosting Recipe*, from Created by Diane. So. Crazy. Good. Mmm!

When I told him I was making low-fat peanut butter frosting, I could see the love burning in my husband’s eyes. I’m not sure if it was for the peanut butter icing or for me, but we’ll just say it was the latter.

Do your best not to sit and eat an entire bowl of this peanut butter frosting, but the one tsp it takes to cover the top of a cupcake will barely register on your daily calorie intake. Here’s the nutrition stats (per tsp):

  • Calories: 27

  • Fat: 0.7g

  • Carbs: 4.5g

  • Protein: 0.8g

*I swapped regular peanut butter for it’s low-fat counterpart and cut a bit of the powdered sugar.

So, now you know how to make cupcakes and peanut butter frosting in a low-fat, no guilt manner. Now get yourself into the kitchen and whip up a batch!

A Skinny Sugar Cookie Recipe That Actually Tastes Good

22 Dec

It’s pretty easy to find low-fat recipes for just about anything these days, so you’d think it’d be no problem to track down one for sugar cookies. Wrong. I’ve been testing out low-fat recipes for sugar cookies for years now and I’ve never really found a good one. In fact, most of them taste like dog food. You might think I’d just make my own health(ish) sugar cookie recipe, but no, not a good idea. I can usually follow other people’s recipes, but if I’m tasked with substituting healthy ingredients on my own, I’m better off serving a bowl of Kibbles ‘n Bits.

In my continued quest to find a low-fat sugar cookie that actually tastes good, I decided to test out one I found on the Good Housekeeping website. Their “Whole Wheat Sugar Cookies” recipe seems pretty solid, looks good on paper, and has great nutrition stats. Plus would Good Housekeeping really put a bad recipe on their website? Well it’s time to find out!

***

Anddd the final result is… they’re DELICIOUS!! Obviously they don’t taste the same as traditional fatty sugar cookies, because well they’re not full of fat, but they have their own flavor of excellent. Yum! After years of searching, I’ve finally found a skinny sugar cookie recipe that actually tastes good!

Everyone knows that sugar cookies can’t be naked*, so after you bake them, it’s time to make some frosting.

*Actually, as it’s virtually impossible to make super healthy frosting, it’s a good idea to keep some of your sugar cookies in their natural state. They’re so good you won’t even mind!

Nothing says Christmas like a naked poodle sugar cookie.

Nothing says Christmas like a naked poodle sugar cookie.

Goat Cheese Frosting

I LOVE goat cheese. In fact, if it was possible to live on reduced fat peanut butter and goat cheese, I’d be the first sucker in line. So when I saw this recipe for goat cheese frosting on Domestic Diva M.D.‘s blog, I pinned it to my recipe board on Pinterest for the next time I needed a frosting recipe. If you even have to ask, her recipe is ahh-mazing! Plus she also puts funny little stories above her recipe posts, so make sure to check the top of the page out before scrolling down to the recipe itself.

Mmm skinny Christmas poodles & unicorns with goat cheese frosting.

Mmm skinny Christmas poodles & unicorns with goat cheese frosting.

Try My Healthy Mexican Pizza Recipe

29 Oct

My homemade Mexican pizza is muy bueno. Ole!

Everyone loves pizza. If they say they don’t, they’re lying. I am certainly not the exception to this fact.

Because I’m passionate about being annoying health conscious, my fiancee and I have only ordered pizza once to-date during our three plus years together, but that doesn’t mean I deprive the poor man of that cheesy goodness. I’m a big fan of making healthy homemade pizza, partially because it’s easy and impossible to mess up, and of course also because it’s good!

I’m a strong believer that making homemade pizza is a brilliant move, because you still get fantastic tasting pizza, but with TONS less fat and calories than that greasy garbage they serve at Domino’s or Pizza Hut. If you eat my pizza, you’ll still be able to fit into your pants the next day.

Why get fat with takeout pizza when you can make your own and save tons of calories?

The Jerp’s Healthy Mexican Pizza Recipe

What you’ll need:

  • 1 can store brand pizza crust (what’s not to love about something cheap and easy… wink wink)
  • 1 jar salsa (as mild or hot as you like it)
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 pepper
  • 1 bag MorningStar Farms® Meal Starters® Grillers® Recipe Crumbles™
  • 1 bag iceburg shredded lettuce
  • 1 1/2-2 cups fat-free shredded cheddar cheese

Bake the pizza crust for around 15 minutes to get it nice and crispy. Meanwhile, brown the fake meat in a pan on the stove. Then put all the ingredients on that beautifully (almost) crispy crust and shove it in the oven for 15 minutes or so. And ta-daaaa you cooked!

Delicious Healthy Taco Salad

27 Aug


 Healthy taco salad is so good it’s easy to forget about its fatty twin.

Traditional taco salad is anything but healthy. Situated in a giant edible “bowl” a.k.a. a fried fat bomb, lettuce and veggies are suffocated under massive piles of shredded cheese, sour cream, ground beef, and salad dressing. For example, Taco Bell’s Fiesta Taco Salad with beef packs in 720 calories and 35 grams of fat. Eww! It should be illegal to even call this a salad, because it is not. Thankfully I decided to believe in the concept of the taco salad. I knew there had to be a way to make it actually be a legit, healthy salad, without losing its Mexican flair. This my friends is how my healthy taco salad was born.

I’m always trying to come up with cheap recipes, because well I’m really cheap. If I’m going to spend a lot of money on food, it’s going to be on something at a snazzy restaurant that I don’t have to make, not on groceries for dinner at chez couch. Not only is my healthy taco salad legitimately low-fat, it has also earned the number one spot on my go-to list of cheap recipes, for when I’m feeling extra thrifty.

How to Make Healthy Taco Salad

Ingredients:

You’re intelligent people, and most of you likely cook better than I do, so I’m not going to waste your time by explaining how to craft these ingredients into a salad. For the most part, use as much of the ingredients as you feel is necessary to fill you up, unless otherwise noted. Use the salsa in place of salad dressing. It has like five calories and zero grams of fat per serving, and it’s delicious!

Try This Healthy Birthday Cake Recipe

13 Aug

Last Thursday was my 28th birthday. I know holidays and special occasions, such as birthdays, are a legit excuse to skip the healthy dinner and whip up a super high-fat birthday cake recipe, but I don’t typically subscribe to that. For the past few years I’ve been skipping the birthday splurges, and instead choosing healthy options that don’t leave me a year older with a food hangover the next day. Don’t get the idea that I’m opposed to fatty splurges though, because I’m so so not.

Birthday flowers!

I wanted a healthy dinner for my birthday, so I chose Aladdin’s Eatery, one of my favorite restaurants. Pretty much everything on the Middle Eastern menu is both healthy and amazingly delicious. Obviously my birthday dinner was a complete success, as I was able to stuff my face with delightful foods like baba, hummus, and tabouli, and I could still fit in my pants the next day. What’s not to love about that?

After our healthy dinner at Aladdin’s we headed back to my parents’ house for cake and presents. In order to please the birthday girl, my mom whipped up her healthy birthday cake recipe, so I would well just shut up about calories and eat cake. And that I did!

Check out my healthy birthday cake!

Try My Mom’s Healthy Birthday Cake Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 Angel Food Cake (make it, buy it from the bakery, whatever rocks your socks)
  • 1 Container of Cool Whip
  • A Bunch of Cut Fruit (we typically use strawberries and blueberries, but I’m sure pineapples, kiwis, mangoes, raspberries, and etc. would work great too)

Ice the cake with the cool whip, then decorate it with fruit. Nice and easy!

Healthy Eating — Try My Delicious Orzo Recipe!

2 Aug

Healthy eating is easy with this orzo recipe!

I like to make healthy recipes that other people come up with, but I’m not exactly known for having any culinary genius of my own. In fact, until the other day it never even occurred to me that I could attempt at coming up with my own healthy recipes. 

I found myself in a dilemma this past Sunday, as on the way to our weekly farmer’s market trip, my boyfriend and I decided to have one of our little healthy eating Sunday night cookouts for two. The only side dish food I had in the pantry was orzo, but I didn’t have a chance to look up orzo recipes before we left. The day before I had this great orzo side dish at a restaurant, and I sort of wanted to somewhat recreate it. But like really, HOW DOES ONE KNOW WHAT INGREDIENTS TO BUY WITHOUT CONSULTING THE INTERNET? Seriously. I tried to look up some healthy recipes with orzo on my phone, but only found a couple of the same olds that I’ve made quite a lot of times.

So, in the spirit of healthy eating I decided to get crafty and come up with my own recipe! Don’t lie, I know you’re impressed. It took some deep thinking, but I was able to come up with a few veggies to put in my shopping basket to make my very own orzo recipe. And here it is:

The Jerp’s Orzo Recipe

  • Ingredients:
    • 1 cup orzo (or less if you don’t want a whole ton)
    • 1 half diced cucumber
    • 1 half diced pepper
    • 1/4 diced red onion
    • a few slices of fresh lemon
    • splash of balsamic vinegar
    • water (apparently orzo sticks together!?!)

Making my orzo recipe isn’t rocket science. Cook the orzo. When it’s done, put it in a pan with the veggies. Add the water when it starts clumping together. When everything appears cooked, pour the mixture into a bowl. Squeeze a couple of pieces of a cut-up lemon over it. Stir. Pour the splash of balsamic vinegar over it. Stir. Voila! Serve hot or cold, both taste equally awesome.

Using Fresh Fruit to Make Low-Calorie Snacks

2 Jul

Mmm gotta love a healthy strawberry smoothie!

It’s summertime and there’s a plentiful amount of cheap, beautiful, fresh fruit everywhere. While this is undeniably wonderful and amazing, if you’re like me, you probably don’t really know what to do with it, besides piercing it with a stick and making fruit kabobs. Fresh fruit makes for great low-calorie snacks in its natural state, but sometimes that alone can be a bore, so you need to jazz it up a bit. If you think I’m about to suggest making a pie or some other form of fatty, non low-calorie snacks with your fresh fruit, you’ve gone nuts. Instead, think more along the lines of a strawberry smoothie (or any other kind of fresh fruit).

My boyfriend recently started using our fresh fruit to make smoothies for us at night, and they are so so good! He makes an incredible strawberry smoothie, but also commonly adds other types of fresh fruit too, including blueberries, kiwi and bananas. We both have a total sweet tooth and smoothies make for great low-calorie snacks to satisfy that craving.

Ingredients to Make a Strawberry Smoothie (or any other kind of fresh fruit):

  • Fresh fruit* (obviously)
  • Fat-free frozen or regular yogurt
  • Milk
  • Ice

Simply put these ingredients in your blender, blend, and voila you have a delicious healthy dessert! Tasty low-calorie snacks are the best as you can actually enjoy them and you don’t have to feel like a big fatty pants afterwards.

*You can also use frozen fruit, but don’t do that until wintertime when fresh fruit is super expensive.