Posts filed under ‘food review’

Pink Lemonade Poundcake, made healthier


Sandra Lee’s semi-homemade cooking philosophy really resonates with me.  I love the idea of tweaking pre-packaged convenience items and making them into something extra special.  To me, it strikes the perfect balance between being Suzy Homemaker and the Drive-Thru Queen.  I no longer get to watch Sandra Lee on TV because I only subscribe to basic Cable, so imagine my delight when I learned she was publishing a magazine!  I signed up right away and recently received my first issue.  It was jam-packed with good items, one of which was a yum-o-licious Pink Lemonade Poundcake. 

I decided to make it for my friend Jen’s birthday party.  Naturally, I had to modify the recipe a touch to make it healthier.  I also had to come up with a glaze.  The picture in the magazine shows it drizzled with some sort of icing, but the recipe doesn’t list it.  I created my own using a store-bought tub of frosting and adding some drink mix and almond milk.  It came out great!


  • 1 package white cake mix
  • 1 cup fat-free sour cream
  • 1/2 12-ounce container frozen pink lemonade concentrate, thawed
  • 2 tubs sugar-free pink lemonade drink mix (1 1/2 tubs for poundcake, 1/2 tub for frosting)
  • 1 package fat-free cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup egg substitute
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tub vanilla frosting
  • a few tablespoons of unsweetened vanilla almond milk


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Mist two 8-inch loaf pans with nonstick baking spray.
  • In a large bowl, combine cake mix, sour cream, pink lemonade concentrate, drink mix, cream cheese, eggs and vanilla.
  • Beat at low speed for one minute. 
  • Increase to medium-high speed and beat for two minutes.
  • Pour into prepared pans, smoothing the tops.
  • Bake for one hour or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Let cool.
  • While cooling, mix frosting with 1/2 tub of drink mix and a tablespoon or two of unsweetened vanilla almond milk (toget the consistency you want).
  • Drizzle over cooled poundcakes.

March 8, 2009 at 1:53 am Leave a comment

Spiced Apple Raspberry Smoothie


I recently discovered Alpine sugar-free cider packets (from Krusteaz) and have been enjoying them immensely at work, at home and when I travel.  There’s a nifty little recipe on the side of the box for Spiced Apple Raspberry Smoothie, and I finally had a chance to make it for my fiance when I brought him breakfast-in-bed this morning.  I modified it slightly by using Greek yogurt, so I balanced the extra thickness and tang by including a bit of unsweetened vanilla almond milk and some sugar-free raspberry syrup.



  • Place all ingredients in a blender jar.
  • Blend until smooth.

Makes 2 servings with approximately 150 calories each.

March 8, 2009 at 1:29 am 1 comment

Insanely Interesting Food Fact!

milkduds“Milk Duds got their name when the manufacturer repeatedly failed to produce a perfectly spherical candy; each lopsided piece was pronounced a ‘dud’.”  Many thanks to Mental Floss’s e-newsletter for sharing this tasty tidbit!

Here are some other fascinating factoids about Milk Duds.

  • 1928 – Milton J. Holloway took over F. Hoffman & Company of Chicago, the original manufacturer of MILK DUDS chocolate-covered caramels.
  • 1960 – Holloway sold the business to Beatrice Foods.
  • 1986 – Leaf purchased the business.
  • 1992 – Production of MILK DUDS candy moved to Leaf’s Robinson, Illinois, plant.
  • 1996 – Hershey Foods Corporation acquired the Leaf North America confectionery operations from Huhtamaki Oy of Helsinki, Finland.
  • 13 Milk Duds have 170 calories, 6g fat, and 1g protein.
  • Milk Duds, like most bite-size candies, are great in desserts. For something funky and unexpected at your next party, try making Milk Duds Chip Cheese Balls or Pumpkin Spice Torte with Milk Dud Glaze.

January 1, 2009 at 1:42 am Leave a comment

In this case, don’t embrace your inner child.

luckycharms2Did you know that 58% of kids’ cereals are eaten by adults over 18?  Well, so what, right?  Is that a bad thing?  

Yeah, actually it is.  A Consumer Reports survey of 27 cereals marketed to children found that 11 of them contain as much sugar in one serving as a glazed Dunkin’ Donut.  Most of us are aware that there’s basically nothing nutritionally redeeming about a donut, and we shun them indignantly.  But, here we are consuming the same amount of sugary goop in a different form.  Why?

I think it’s about indulging the little kid in all of us.  Whether it’s a longing for lost youth or a desire to enjoy formerly forbidden foods, these cereals somehow give us a happy, carefree feeling.

In my case, my sugar intake was severely restricted as a child.  My dad confiscated all of my Halloween candy after trick-or-treating, allowing me only one sweet and tossing the rest.  I could not have any “fun” cereal for breakfast, and I was forced to eat spinach until I gagged at dinner.  My dad had the right idea, but his technique backfired.  For instance, I was never allowed to eat Lucky Charms, and, as an adult, I stocked up on boxes and boxes of the faux marshmallow, crunchy stuff.  It took me a long time to overcome the “food trauma” of those early days and learn to truly like high quality, healthy foods.

Other kids didn’t go through that; instead they have fond memories of noshing on yummy-sweet cereals around the breakfast table, maybe flinging bits and bites across the table at their siblings.  For them, eating that food now takes them to a happy place; it takes them out of the stress of raising kids, dealing with finances, maintaining a home and gives them some respite.  It’s hard to begrudge that, but it’s not doing them any good in the long run.

So, how do you enjoy your morning meal while treating your body right, too?  When I’m craving a sweet and crunchy treat, I pour a cup of Kashi’s GO LEAN Crunch, in Honey Almond Flax and eat it dry.  A cup’ll set you back 200 calories while delivering 500mg Omega-3, 9g protein, 8g fiber, 15g of whole grains, and it tastes fantastic!  In fact, I sometimes have to watch myself to keep from eating the entire box.  The only upside to that is that, while I would have consumed WAY too many calories, it would at least be good stuff for my bod.

November 26, 2008 at 4:23 am Leave a comment

More fun with PB&J

stephhealthypbandj You all know how much I love, love, love PB&J.  Heck, I even threw a PB&J party a few months ago in which every single item was made with both peanut butter and jelly (or some form of preserves)!  I try to keep it healthy, so I use Smart Balance Omega PB and sugar-free jam as my foundational ingredients. 

Steph at Noshtopia offers another spin on the healthy PB&J sandwich.  She uses Ezekiel Bread, Whole Foods 365 Organic Peanut Butter and 365 Organic Fruit Spread.  Looks health-o-licious to me!

November 25, 2008 at 2:46 pm Leave a comment

Are you a “Latte Spy”?

“I am a loyal fan of Starbucks, and as a result, I go quite regularly. That said, every time I order a drink there, I strongly doubt that my drink will be made the way I ordered. My distrust has gotten so bad, that I hover over the ‘pick-up’ station to watch how my drink is made to ensure it’s prepared correctly. I pretend to not be watching, but I am. I have become, in essence, a Latte Spy.”

I am exactly like Brett at Sheer Balance.  I watch the baristas at Starbucks like a hawk when they make my drinks.  Unlike Brett, though, I am not subtle about it… although I do smile a lot while to generate goodwill.  The fact is, I have caught the baristas making my drink with regular syrup, instead of sugar-free, too many times to relax my vigilance.  Regular syrup can make a huge difference in the calories a drink contains, especially if you order a venti or like your beverage particularly sweet as I do.  These types of substitution mistakes could cost you a minimum 100 calories for every beverage, and if you’re a high-volume Starbucks customer, that can add up quick!

I have a pretty low calorie threshold for the day, so every calorie I consume counts a lot.  I simply must be extra careful.  So, while outwardly, it might seem obnoxiously high maintenance – and even insulting to the hardworking baristas – I can’t afford not to monitor their preparations.

I used to feel really guilty about this behavior, but now I don’t.  I’ve worked extremely hard to lose 120+ pounds, and I have the right to make sure I know what I’m imbibing.  I figure that as long as I do it in a friendly way, with an occasional “I really have to watch my calories” comment by way of explanation, I’m being respectful of the staff while still taking care of myself.

November 20, 2008 at 1:45 am Leave a comment

Clean Eating in the Friendly Skies (or on the ground in between)

Steph at Noshtopia recently posted about eating healthy at the airport.  Considering that I just got back from a whirlwind weekend trip to San Francisco, it’s a subject that’s been on my mind, too.

Steph notes that the selection varies widely depending on the airport, and I agree.  She also notes that she usually brings key staples with her.  I do the same.  I generally pack one-cup containers of Kashi GO-LEAN Original cereal, Z Bars, bananas and apples, and Greens to Go for my bottled water.  Sometimes, though, you want something else… or you’re on your way home and have used up all your supplies.

In that case, I rely significantly on Starbucks now that they have much better food offerings.  The Protein Plate with peanut butter is awesome.  So is the oatmeal… as long as you limit yourself to only one accompaniment.  (Use all three mix-ins – nuts, dried fruit, and brown sugar – and you’ve increased your 140-calorie oatmeal by 250 calories!)  I like to mix in the nuts and one of my Greens to Go packets.  Include a venti green tea with sugar-free syrup, and you’ve got a really clean, healthy meal for a reasonable number of calories.

Look for unconventional options.  On my way back home this past Sunday, I found a Mediterranean café by my gate.  So, for breakfast, I had homemade hummus with pita triangles, falafel and tabbouleh.  It was not traditional breakfast fare, and I guesstimated that the calories were higher than I usually consume.  But, it was all good, healthy stuff that kept me full even when my flight was delayed for an hour and a half.

November 13, 2008 at 2:39 pm Leave a comment

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