Posts filed under ‘Fuel Yourself’

Fuel Yourself: Carrot and parsnip latkes

I’m a total dork for winter festivity. Blame advertising. Blame sentimentality. Blame the fact that my momma always starts playing Christmas music on Thanksgiving night and doesn’t take down the tree until well after the new year. If you can string it with lights, festoon it with tinsel, fa-la-la-la-la it or serve it with figgy pudding, there’s a good chance I love it. A LOT.

Because The Fiancé is Jewish, I have extended my love of ridiculous holiday decorations to all things blue-and-white. Yeah, I understand that Hanukkah and Christmas aren’t equivalent holidays, and that I’m generally making a much bigger deal of it than his parents ever did, but whatever. In my family, we once created a day just for Momma — in September, independent of her birthday or Mother’s Day — and marked it with a huge banner, cards, and a giant bowl of M&Ms. In short: We like to celebrate.

So now that it’s December and tonight is the first night of Hanukkah, how about we kick things off with a really delicious latke (potato pancake) recipe I found in an issue of Weight Watchers Weekly last year? Carrots and parsnips take some of the place of potatoes, resulting in a nice mix of root vegetables that reheats well. I served these with grilled chicken and a salad, and TF was a fan. Don’t forget the applesauce and sour cream!


Carrot-Parsnip Latkes

¾ lb. carrots, peeled and grated

¾ lb. parsnips, peeled and grated

1 medium onion, peeled and grated

2 large egg whites and 1 large egg, combined and lightly beaten

¼ cup plain breadcrumbs

2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme (or whatever seasoning you like)

¼ tsp. salt

dash of ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Combine all of the veggies in a bowl, then add the egg mixture, breadcrumbs, and seasonings. Mix well. Drop ¼ cup servings of the mixture onto a hot skillet greased with cooking spray, and flatten each serving into a little pancake. Cook until browned and cooked through, flipping to ensure even cooking.

Makes 16 latkes. If you’re counting according to the now-obsolete Weight Watchers Points system, two latkes are one Point. I’ll try to repost the new PointsPlus values after my meeting this week!

December 1, 2010 at 10:29 pm Leave a comment

Fuel Yourself: Minty goodness


I almost don’t want to tell you guys about this, because I love it so much and it’s a little hard to find, but in my post-Friday-run euphoria, I’m feeling magnanimous. Go to your local grocery store and buy Silk’s Mint Chocolate soymilk, which is offered only during the holiday season. Guys, it’s so good. 90 calories a cup (2 Points, if you’re counting), and it tastes like melted Thin Mints. I’ve heated mine up this morning, and I’m sipping it while I stretch.

Stash some in your fridge for the holidays, and when everyone else is drowning in eggnog, you’ve got a healthy and really tasty treat.

November 19, 2010 at 1:34 pm Leave a comment

An Organic Incentive

Whole Foods — the only grocery store where I can spend $50 before I even pick up a basket — is offering its employees higher percentages of discount if they meet certain health guidelines. The New York Daily News reports that workers whose body mass index, blood pressure and cholesterol levels measure up can earn up to 30 percent off their grocery bills. (Regular employee discount is 20 percent.) Now if only Whole Foods would offer their customers the same incentive!

January 26, 2010 at 9:33 pm Leave a comment

Fuel Yourself: Slow It Down Now

When I was in high school, my family got a bread-making machine. For weeks, we made tons and tons of hot, crusty bread. Then we put it in the closet, and it never came out again.

This Christmas, I got my first slow cooker. Since then, I’ve used it every week. I’m more than willing to admit that there may come a time when the cooker goes the way of the bread machine, but until then, I AM IN SLOW-COOKER HEAVEN. I’ve made soup and oatmeal in my ceramic oven of joy, as well as some entrees that were amazing. Here’s one, courtesy of Weight Watchers:

Provencal Beef Stew


1 pound(s) lean beef round, cut into 1-inch cubes (London Broil)

1 small onion(s), chopped

2 cup(s) mushroom(s), sliced

2 medium garlic clove(s), minced

2 large carrot(s), sliced

15 oz canned pinto beans, drained and rinsed, divided

1 1/2 cup(s) canned beef broth, divided

14 1/2 oz canned crushed tomatoes

1/2 tsp dried oregano, crushed

1/4 tsp dried thyme, crushed

1/2 tsp table salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

2 Tbsp thyme, or 2 whole sprigs, for garnish (optional)


Put raw beef in a five-quart slow cooker. Coat a skillet with cooking spray or misted olive oil, then add onion, mushrooms and garlic. Sauté over medium-high heat until the onion mixture is nice and soft, then add the mixture to the slow cooker. Throw the carrots and half of the beans in, too. Put the other half of the beans in a blender with half a cup of broth, then blend. (I did it in a bowl with an immersion blender. Aside from a small spatter on The Boyfriend’s shirt — he was helping me cook — it worked just fine.) Once the puree is done, add to slow cooker. Add remaining broth, tomatoes, oregano, dried thyme, some fresh thyme, salt and pepper to cooker. Cover and cook on high five to seven hours. Garnish with fresh thyme before serving, if desired.

Makes six one-and-a-quarter-cup servings. If you’re counting, it’s four Points per serving.

I had this over a small baked Yukon Gold potato for lunch. Insanely delicious, and there’s no way to tell that it’s not the full-fat version.

January 19, 2010 at 4:15 pm Leave a comment

“On second thought, I’ll have the side salad, thanks.”

friedThe Center for Science in the Public Interest released this year’s Xtreme Eating Awards this week. The nutritional watchdog group rounds up the highest-calorie offenders at national chains and lets us know exactly what’s going on underneath their crispy exteriors and buttered buns. I don’t want to be a buzzkill, because I know I wouldn’t want to live in a world where nothing was ever batter-coated and then fried to deep golden perfection, but the nutritional info on some of these items is really gross. Take The Cheesecake Factory’s Fried Macaroni and Cheese, which clocks in at 1,570 calories and 69 grams of saturated fat or Chili’s Big Mouth bites, a four-burger plate that adds up to 2,350 calories, 38 grams of saturated fat and — start pouring that water now — 3,940 miligrams of sodium. Yeesh.

Want more of the grisly details? Go here.

June 4, 2009 at 8:57 pm Leave a comment

The Genius Of Gazpacho

Memorial Day weekend in review:

Beer? Check.

Desserts I don’t usually eat? Check.

A fun, relaxing weekend of not doing much of anything? Check.

The need to get back to non-vacation-style eating pronto? Check… check check check.

To help me even out the balance for my holiday indulgences, I’m going to make some gazpacho. It tastes good. It’s all veggies. It’s easy to make. It’s filling. And it’s served cold, which feels so nice in this balmy weather we’re having in the northeast.

Here’s a good recipe, courtesy of the Food Network, but you can really change it up any way you want:


1 hothouse cucumber, halved and seeded, but not peeled
2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded
4 plum tomatoes
1 red onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
23 ounces tomato juice (3 cups)
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper


Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onions into 1-inch cubes. Put each vegetable separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until it is coarsely chopped If you don’t have a food processor, an immersion blender will do the trick. But don’t overprocess! After each vegetable is processed, combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. The longer gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop.

If you’re counting, this awesome soup is 0 Points. (Yay!)

May 26, 2009 at 1:31 pm Leave a comment

Fuel Yourself

Summer’s almost here, so why not get a jump on the smoothie making? This one’s yummy. And here’s a tip: Trader Joe’s has a seriously good frozen fruit selection. Just leave some mangoes for me!

Pineapple-Mango Smoothie

1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup fat-free vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup canned unsweetened pineapple chunks
3/4 cup unsweetened frozen mango chunks

Blend on high for a minute. Drink!

If you’re counting, it’s 4 Points.


April 22, 2009 at 8:09 pm Leave a comment

Energy Drinks and Mind Games

gatorade-20-oz-line-up1Energy drinks like Gatorade and Propel may help you achieve your fitness goals, a new study says, but not in the ways science previously thought. An article published in The Journal Of Physiology‘s latest issue finds that sugary drinks boost endurance even if they’re not ingested (the study’s subjects just swished the drinks and spit them out). This makes the scientists involved in the study think what the mouth tells the brain about these drinks — rather than their caloric content — is what makes them a must-have for high-performing athletes.

The coolest thing about all of this, in my opinion, is that it lends even more support to the idea that the brain is the biggest determiner of your ability. Muscles, heart, lungs… they’re all necessary, but your mind — and the way it processes information from your body — really is the limit when it comes to working out.

(Of course, this doesn’t mean you should go out and start chugging high-calorie sports drinks in the hopes of turning into Venus or Serena Williams. I’m no scientist, but I can safely say that the drink alone won’t do it for ya.)

Read Science Daily‘s take on the study here, or check out the study’s abstract here.

April 17, 2009 at 3:59 pm 1 comment

Fuel Yourself: Passover cake

passovercakeThis one is straight from Weight Watchers. I made it last year and it was a big hit at The Boyfriend’s parents’ house. It’s pretty easy and really moist, plus it’s relatively good for you! Tastes really good with fruit. It’s great for Passover or any time you’ve got dinner guests. Happy Passover to anyone celebrating!

3/4 cup(s) matzo cake meal
1/4 cup(s) Manischewitz Potato Starch, or other brand
12 large egg(s), separated
1 1/2 cup(s) sugar
1/4 cup(s) fresh orange juice
2 tsp orange zest, finely chopped
1/3 cup(s) preserves, raspberry-variety
1 cup(s) unsweetened frozen raspberries, or fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift matzo cake meal with potato starch over a large bowl; sift again and set aside. In a large bowl with a whisk or an electric mixer on high power, whip egg whites until stiff and glossy; set aside. In a large bowl with a whisk or an electric mixer on high power, whip egg yolks with sugar until light and satiny; add orange juice and zest and blend well. Fold egg whites into yolk mixture until just blended. Sift in matzo cake meal mixture; fold delicately to combine. Carefully pour batter into a 10-inch, 2-piece ungreased angel food cake pan with feet or a sponge cake pan. Bake until center of cake springs back to the touch, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and immediately invert pan onto a wire rack; cool cake completely in pan. (If you do not have a pan with feet, invert pan over a wine or beer bottle.) Meanwhile, to make topping, heat raspberry preserves in a small saucepan over low heat and toss in raspberries; mix well. When cake is completely cool, run a sharp knife around the outside and inside rings of the tube pan to loosen cake; transfer to a serving plate. Slice into 16 pieces and drizzle each slice with sauce just before serving. Yields 1 slice of cake and about 1 tablespoon of sauce per serving.

You’ll need 1 large orange to yield the zest and juice for this cake.

Cooking Tip: Cooling the cake upside down is one of the tricks of making a sponge cake light and tall. Invert the cake immediately upon removing it from the oven. Cool completely in the inverted position.

This light-as-a-feather Passover cake can be made in a variety of flavors. You can substitute lemon or lime zest and juice for the orange zest and juice. Or forget the citrus juice and zest altogether and use two teaspoons of vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon of almond extract instead.

Not Passover? You can use 1 cup of flour instead of the matzo cake meal and potato starch, if desired.

April 8, 2009 at 8:53 pm Leave a comment

In Praise Of The Potato

If you don’t eat potatoes because you fear carbs, take a look at this interesting piece from The Atlanta-Journal Consitution. Dietician Carolyn O’Neil gives us a few good reasons to savor our spuds. “Potatoes are nutrition good guys,” she writes. Truer words never were spoken! potato

March 25, 2009 at 9:34 pm Leave a comment

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