Tag Archives: holidays

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!

Our Quick & Easy Healthy Little Easter Dinner

1 Apr

My aunt and uncle always a big family Easter Sunday celebration at their farm, but this year we were out- of- town for a wedding the night before, so we spent the day on the road traveling home. Although we were sad to miss Easter dinner with the family, being the maid-of-honor at my best friend from high school’s wedding was probably a pretty good excuse!

Making the “scenic” five hour drive across the state of Pennsylvania kept us busy for a good part of the day, but I didn’t want to make us miss out on the entire holiday. Easter dinner can be fantastic whether you’re dining with 30 people or wellll…. two. In this case our holiday dinner party consisted of the two of us — my husband and I.

Though we spent most of the day traveling, I still wanted to make a delicious dinner, because who wants to eat Easter dinner takeout style? Also, even if we did want to make it easy and order in, most places are closed by Easter Sunday evening. We actually learned this the hard way one year when Easter dinner was served very early, and there wasn’t much of it. Finding any open establishments in our area proved to be quite tricky.

After riding in the car for five-plus hours knew I wasn’t going to want to make a whole huge spread, but it’s the thought that counts, right? Here’s the healthy, delicious, easy recipes I chose for our little Easter dinner for two:


Mmm delicious homemade pita chips...

Mmm delicious homemade pita chips…

I made this recipe for Thyme Pita Chips from The Divine Addiction last week and it was such a hit that I decided to do it again! You can’t beat dinner recipes that are both easy to make and delicious. The only modification I made was spraying the pita chips with olive oil, instead of drizzling them with the real thing, to cut down the fat.

I paired this with store-bought hummus, because honestly I made hummus once and it was disgusting. I’ll leave that one to the professionals.

Main Course
I ended up choosing Skinnytaste Zucchini Lasagna as our main course, because honestly I’d never noticed this recipe on the site before and it was insta-love! Hello low-carb lasagna! I actually made this little dish of culinary brilliance on Thursday evening and put it in the freezer, so all I had to do was take it out and deposit it in the oven.

Oh and I also made few slight modifications to it as well, mainly just swapping 99% fat-free ground turkey for the beef, using Kraft fat-free shredded mozzarella cheese instead of Parmigiano Reggiano, trading 1% cottage cheese for ricotta, and subbing olive oil spray in place of the real thing.

This turned out a little soupy, so I just made my husband dish it out. Haha.

This turned out a little soupy, so I just made my husband dish it out. Haha.

Side Dish
I thought I had my side dishes figured out, then I found this recipe for Skinnytaste Bacon Wrapped Green Bean Bundles on Pinterest, and I knew I HAD to surprise my husband with it. The man LOVES his bacon! I just swapped Butterball low-sodium turkey bacon in place of the real thing to cut some of the fat out.

Green beans wrapped in turkey bacon - what's not to love?!

Green beans wrapped in turkey bacon – what’s not to love?!

To top it off, we stopped at a grocery store in Philly on our way home for a baguette. No guilt on that little splurge either, as most everything else is impressively lite on carbs, if I do say so myself.

These healthy, easy recipes allowed my husband and I to have a delicious little feast on Easter evening, without a whole lot of work!

Healthy Easter Basket Ideas

6 Apr

Easter Sunday is quickly approaching! Yay! For many of us, this holiday unofficially marks the beginning of spring, and all things bright, beautiful, and warm. It’s also a major religious holiday, which for many people means trips to church, family gatherings, and of course a visit from the Easter Bunny!

If you are the designated Easter bunny in your family, it’s up to you not to fill their baskets with tons of nasty junk food. That’s gross. I mean really, with swimsuit season quickly approaching, the last thing they need is a dozen chocolate bunnies and Cadbury eggs to plump them up. Instead, make healthy Easter baskets that won’t leave your loved ones nursing a food hangover on Monday.

Dogs love to be dressed up like the Easter Bunny.

Healthy Easter Basket Ideas:

Gift Cards: Don’t panic, I’m not suggesting that you stuff your Easter baskets with $50 gift cards. Unless you’re a billionaire, in which case rock that out. Otherwise just put one or two $5-$10 gift cards in your loved ones Easter baskets. Chose stores like iTunes, Amazon, Starbucks, Subway, and other places where they can buy something sweetly inexpensive.

Coffee: Buy a pound of coffee. If you really want to go with the typical “sweets” theme that Easter baskets typically have, buy a flavored kind like chocolate, peanut butter, or crème brulee. This will taste great to a coffee lover, without making them fat. You can also substitute tea for non-coffee drinkers.

Carrots: If they’re good enough for the Easter Bunny, they’re good enough for anyone.

Skinny Cow Chocolate Bars : Even I’ll admit that Easter baskets aren’t complete without at least a little bit of candy! Personally, I love, love, love Skinny Cow chocolate. It’s low-fat, low-calorie, and tastes delicious! Honestly, Skinny Cow chocolate doesn’t even have that awful diet taste that many healthier candy products have. It’s magic!

Lottery Tickets: Scratch off lottery tickets are fun, inexpensive, and appropriate for any occasion. They make great Easter basket ideas, especially since a winning ticket could bring the recipient big money!

This is what happens when the Easter Bunny eats too much candy.

Kashi GOLEAN Protein Bars: Who wouldn’t love the give the gift of protein on Easter Sunday? If your loved ones are health food nuts, or even if you just think they should be, stuff their Easter baskets with protein bars. These ones from Kashi are actually really good too.

Toothbrush: My Easter Bunny always brings me a toothbrush. She knows there’s nothing more important than good hygiene.

Cosmetics: For ladies’ Easter baskets (and men who like to wear makeup), you can easily slip a bottle of nail polish, lip gloss, mascara, or lotion into the mix. Just make sure it’s a brand and color that they like, and not Wet ‘n’ Wild metallic blue eye shadow.

Travel-Sized Products: Not only are travel-sized products great Easter basket ideas because they’re tiny, they’re also beautifully practical. If any of your loved ones are planning an upcoming trip, (especially men, because they would never think to buy these themselves) these mini products will be super appreciated! Purchase items such as shampoo, conditioner, mouthwash, lotion, shower gel, deodorant, toothpaste, and anything else that looks small, awesome and useful.

Sugar-Free Gum: The most important aspect of conversation is not what you’re saying, but how your breath smells. If you smell like an onion factory every time you open your mouth, no one will hear anything you’re saying, because they’ll be too busy trying to get away from you! This is why putting sugar-free gum in Easter baskets is a great idea. Friends don’t let friends have bad breath.

Healthy Snack Ideas for Your St. Patrick’s Day Party

16 Mar

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I’ve loved this holiday ever since I was a little kid. I mean how can you not love a day centered on leprechauns (a.k.a. midgets in awesome outfits)? One time in fourth grade, I found the pot of gold in my elementary school’s St. Patrick’s Day scavenger hunt, which was freaking awesome. The “pot of gold” of course was of course just a ton of chocolate gold coins, which was even better than actual gold to my obese nine year-old self.

Moral of the Story: Green beer and corned beef are for men with boobs, so if you’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day today, party on with healthy snack foods to keep your svelte shape.

If you’re still looking for some last minute healthy snack ideas, you’re in luck, because I have a fantastic one for you! The other day I came across this kale chips recipe on Skinnytaste, and I knew I had to try it. People kept telling me I’d love kale, but I was a little hesitant, until I saw that Skinnytaste had its own kale chips recipe. Since everything on that site is amazing, I decided to test it out.

Snacks don't get much healthier than this kale chips recipe.

Preparation: In my mind, there are two main factors to consider before making a recipe — the nutrition stats and the amount of energy I have to put into the whole affair. If one isn’t to my liking, then no deal.  Thankfully everything about this kale chips recipe is so easy, that even my culinary attention span could handle it. It only takes approximately two minutes from start to finish to get everything prepped and in the oven.

Finished Product: Mmm, this kale chips recipe is seriously good! If you like crunchy foods, add this to your list of healthy snack ideas for your St. Patrick’s Day party (or any other day), because these healthy little nuggets are fantastic. And since it’s kale, and way super healthy, I encourage you to gorge yourself on them all day, guilt-free!

Enrage the fatties at the party by bragging about the nutrition stats attached to your snack, compared to the fat farm they’re shoving in their faces. Sure shamrock cupcakes & Doritos are good, but do you really want to look like them?

Mmm kale chips

More Festive Healthy Snack Ideas:

Can’t get into kale? That’s okay, here’s some more festively green St. Patrick’s Day Snack Ideas:

  • Roasted edamame
  • Veggies with guacamole
  • Celery sticks with peanut butter
  • Dye some egg whites green
  • Leafy green salad
  • Celery, cucumbers, green peppers and broccoli (hot, cold, served together or served alone, so many options!)

Combating the Christmas Food Hangover

26 Dec

Stop feeling guilty for eating your way through Christmas and get your arse to the gym!

If you’re nursing a food hangover today, because you ate too much Christmas food yesterday, you’re not alone. I feel your pain. I don’t care how disciplined you are, I strongly believe that it is impossible to eat healthy on Christmas. If you glued yourself to the veggie tray at your family gathering yesterday and managed to steer clear of the fatty Christmas food, I commend you. On the other hand, I gave in to my inner fat child and ate too much. So much that I’m currently pregnant with a food baby. Actually, it might be twins. But whatever, it happens to everyone. Right?

Resume Your Workout Schedule

Instead of lying around feeling guilty for being a fatty and eating too much unhealthy food yesterday, it’s important to mount that healthy horse and drag yourself to the gym. Of course you don’t want to, or who knows, maybe you do, but either way you must get yourself back in motion today. You’re probably feeling sluggish from your fat fiesta yesterday – at least I know I sure am. Getting back into your workout schedule will zap that energy right back into you. Knowing you just spent an hour working off all of that unhealthy food that you ate yesterday will also inspire you not to dive headfirst into the fattening leftovers in your refrigerator. I started my day with a trip to the gym and I’m so glad I did! Trust me, you’ll never regret the decision to make yourself go to the gym for good workout.

Banish the Unhealthy Food From Your Kitchen

Whether or not you hosted any Christmas festivities at your house this weekend, your refrigerator is probably stocked with unhealthy food leftover from the holiday. Christmas food is great, but should be reserved for one or two isolated days. You can’t do too much damage to your waistline in the span of a couple of days, but if you let the fat party rage on, you’re going to start resembling Santa Claus. Face it, Christmas food is so good because you only have it once a year or so. Consider getting rid of unhealthy leftovers as a way to keep that loving feeling with your favorite once-a-year fat bombs. You won’t love that nut bread so much next year if you associate it with not being able to fit into your pants by New Year’s Eve.

Need more inspiration? Check out this post from a blogger who had the willpower to run a 14k on Christmas day!

How to Deal with Stress This Holiday Season

20 Dec

Don't get all stressed out during the Christmas season.

There’s a million little things that make the holiday season special. That’s right, you need to do one million little things to successfully survive the Christmas season. So it’s really no wonder that every normal person on the planet experiences some form of stress and anxiety during this time of year.

You have to do all of your holiday shopping, gift wrapping, baking, party planning/attending, decorating, sending Christmas cards, planning and cooking a feast for the big day, and countless other “little” tasks. And for most of us, all of this madness takes place during a span of less than one month. If you don’t experience at least a little stress and anxiety during this mad rush, you need to be put in a cage and studied.

The holiday season does only come once a year though, so it’s important to figure out how to deal with stress and not let it put a damper on your festive mood. No one can do everything, so strive for excellence on the festive obligations that fit your fancy, and then openly half-arse the ones that don’t. If anyone dares berate you for this wise little tactic, deck them in the brow with a stick of holly.

Tips for Managing Stress During the Holiday Season:

  • Admit Defeat. If you’ve noticed people feeding your Christmas cookies to their dog, take this as a sign that your baked goods taste like dog treats. Surrender your spatula and purchase any baked goods you plan to serve during the Christmas season from an actual bakery. Why waste your precious time baking if your efforts aren’t appreciated?
  • Send New Year’s Cards. Somewhere, at some point-in-time, some moron made a rule that cards sent during the holiday season had to arrive before Christmas day. If not, you’re supposed to feel ashamed that you were busy enjoying the Christmas season, thus resulting in the tardy arrival of your cards. Make your own rules and buy New Year’s cards instead. They will stand out with their fashionably late arrival, and people might actually have the time to read them.
  • Act like a VIP. Everyone you know wants to hang out during the holiday season. Your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and etc. all have holiday parties, gift exchanges, happy hours, and other random events they expect you to attend. Unless you’re some kind of ninja, you can’t attend all of these events at once. Or at all. Especially with all of the other tasks you have to complete during the holiday season. Say ‘yes’ to the events you genuinely want to go and politely decline the others. They’ll get over it.
  • Get on the List. Everything is easier when you’re organized. Work on managing stress this holiday season by making lists of things that need to be done. Create a plan to dominate your Christmas season tasks, so you’re not running around like crazy old fruit cake.

Check out this great post, “5 Simple Ways to Keep Holiday Stress at Bay,” to find more ways to reduce stress during the Christmas season.

Healthy Baking That Actually Tastes Good – Low Fat Sugar Cookies

10 Dec

baking tips, healthy baking, appetite control, weight control, eat healthy, eating healthy, willpower

I baked sugar cookies today, which is a once-a-year extravaganza for me. For some people baking is second nature, for me it’s something I have to mentally prepare for weeks in advance. First, I always practice healthy baking, so I have to find the perfect low-fat recipe. The general consensus is typically that my low-fat sugar cookies taste like dog food, but whatever, more for me. Second, I have to go through the cabinets and see what baking supplies have expired, molded, or smell bad from last year. Finally, I have to choose some weirdo theme that will make my weight control sugar cookies stand out, since their taste doesn’t usually earn them any bonus points.

Nothing says Christmas like a green unicorn.

When baking anything, I love to simply eliminate any ingredients and steps that I find to be too expensive, too fattening, or that I don’t understand. Yet another reason I only unleash my healthy baking powers to the world once a year – no one appreciates my culinary “creativity.” This year I decided to make a change for the better. I went out of my way to search for a recipe from a legit source, and found one for whole wheat sugar cookies from Better Homes and Gardens. I used an icing recipe from Gina’s Skinny Recipes, to make my own homemade red and green icing.

The results of my healthy baking spree.

For once, my healthy baking efforts paid off and my cookies are actually good! Personally I always find my own weight control cookies to be good though, so I knew not to trust my own opinion. I gave my boyfriend one to taste test and he actually liked it! Actually, he liked it so much that he volunteered himself to help me ice the cookies, and promptly picked up a pattern of “one for me, one for the cookie container,” and so on. I haven’t experienced such a baking victory since I discovered that butter and sugar are bad for you, when I was a young fat child.

There's no denying it, that's a fine looking gold glitter poodle.