Mardi Gras Healthy Food Tips from the Chefwannabee

After all the sweet desserts and treats of the Valentine’s week, here comes all rich and fatty week of Mardi Gras. I’m sure you too have been thinking what possible alternatives to cook for a less fatty Mardi Gras Tuesday.

Try these tips from the Chefwannabee:

1. Take Baked Tostitos Scoops instead of Frito Scoops and get 80 percent less fat — and double the fiber — per serving.

2. Use plain nonfat Greek yogurt in place of sour cream for your favorite dips and you’ll save nearly 200 calories — and get triple the protein — per 1/2 cup serving.

Pita Chips

3. Trade your Wheat Thins or pita chips (yes, even the “simply naked” and “multigrain” pita chips contain more refined flour than anything else) for All Bran crackers and you’ll get an extra 3 to 4 grams of fiber per serving.

4. Lighten up chili by using 95 percent lean ground beef instead of ground chuck and you’ll cut nearly a third of the calories and half the saturated fat. Add beans and get about 10 grams of fiber per cup — about one-third of the recommended daily intake.

5. Serve low-fat turkey dogs on light wheat buns and save 180 calories and 15 grams of fat, each.

6. Reach for Bud Select 55 beer instead of Michelob Ultra (or any light beer) and save 120 calories for every three beers.

Feeling thirsty?

7. Take the skin off of fried chicken to shave more than half the calories and nearly all of the fat.

8. Go for the seafood gumbo (sans the rice) and skip the jambalaya to save as much as 200 calories and 20-plus grams of carbohydrate per cup.

9. Trade up to chicken sausage instead of pork to slash more than half the calories and as much as 85 percent of the fat. It’s available at most grocery stores.

10. Nix the 20-ounce frozen daiquiri and opt for a beer (light or regular), a glass of wine or a cocktail made with a no-sugar mixer (water, diet soft drink, club soda), and you’ll save no less than 800 sugary calories.

Hope that helps! 🙂


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Why Cooking from Scratch on Valentine’s Day Is the Best

Cooking from Scratch Is Perfect Fun for the Family on Valentine's Day

It’s true, cooking at home is a lot better than ordering food in… and since it’s Valentine’s Day, there’s nothing better than showing how much you care by taking all the effort to prepare something from scratch. If you agree that it does make a difference, yes it really does!

Cooking from Scratch Shows Love

For example, the best part when making pizza from scratch is that you can tailor the taste to your exact liking! Its great because you can mix together the ingredients and seasoning and then cook to your desired crunchiness. Plus, you can invite the whole family to do it, ask for their suggestions and do it together. Try this wonderful cheese recipe. You’ll be hitting three birds in one stone – tasty cheese and healthy veggies cooked the healthiest way!

Cheese and Vegetable Quiche

One thing to note when cooking from scratch, be careful with your salting. Although salt is necessary and helps things turn out right, make sure you add salt little by little, tasting first before adding more. One of the flops of making dishes from scratch is salting, and I agree that it’s one reason why most of you hates to cook from scratch, because it just doesn’t taste good, compared to ordering food in.

So this Valentine’s Day, show your love, bring fun and closeness around the kitchen and keep the family focus on what makes everyone happy. Happy Valentine! -Carolyn

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Anything Healthy Should Not Be a Secret

It shouldn’t be a secret that you and I have some fondness for granolas. As a matter of fact and as a wife, I find more fulfillment making healthier granola recipes. While granola with nuts will have a higher caloric and fat content then granola without nuts, I think it can still be a healthy snack or meal.

Granola to the Everyday Homecook

Like I said, anything healthy shouldn’t be a secret. This one recipe is so far the healthiest and most unique for my granola, thanks to Sandy of Your Smart Kitchen and her newsletters, there is nothing else I could ask for when it comes to healthy tips for healthy eating. If you’re the golden years couple, this Homemade Granola with lots of healthy ingredients is the MOST perfect and the MUST granola recipe to try.

Parfait with Granola from the Wandering Eater

Of course you can enjoy granola right out of the bag, that is the most convenient thing to do, but why not create your own parfaits with yogurt, fresh berries and the freshest and healthiest granola? After all, it will not take you even an hour to cook it but a day of enjoyment and healthfulness… and just like what Sandy suggests, “Experiment and try other spices you have on hand or different kinds of nuts.”

Let’s go! 🙂

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The Benefits of Incorporating Cheese in Your Food

Aside from being good for the bones, incorporating cheese in some of your recipes can also do good to the teeth.  Cheese is a food that is rich in calcium. Cheese can reduce plaque as it stimulates saliva which helps to keep the mouth clean.

Speaking of the health of your bones, it is not just the calcium that are great for your bones, but the natural vitamin-B content in cheese. Vitamin-B helps to make sure that the calcium received is properly absorbed and distributed, making cheese an important element in cooking.

Shredded Cheese on top of any food

Bean and Cheese Chili Relleno

Cheese is very delicious and you can use a lot of it in your recipies. If you’re not including it during cooking, you may simply grate or shred cheese on top of your favorite food. When used together with black pepper and crushed red pepper, it adds lots of flavor to many things. You should it give it a try.

If you want to know more about cheese in your diet, visit They provide extensive information on cheese, including recipes, descriptions of cheeses, news, and more.

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What Is a Good Kitchen

Aside from color and design and careful placement of appliances, a well-stocked kitchen is a good kitchen. Why? Because it’s a great money saver.

Having a well-stocked kitchen allows you to often prepare tasty, simple foods at home very easily and quickly and with minimal cost. It’s not actually what you want to put into your pantry but what your pantry needs to provide you with good and healthy meals.

The biggest problem is that many people claims its hard to acquire a well-stocked kitchen for financial reasons, so they often end up having a few stuff to get buy. While this is generally fine, I still suggest that a little extra effort about well-stocking the pantry can be possible. You only need to list down the things you most need that those you think you’re going to use.

So how does all these save you money?

A little planning for pantry stocking

Cooking at home is a lot less expensive than eating out. When you have even the scratch of the scratch ingredients on hand, you get to prepare every recipe you have in mind, so a few dollars could be all you need to provide the staple items like garlic, onions, oil, salt and a few cheap vegetables like potatoes, tomatoes, beans and pumpkin.

So what do you think? 🙂




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Hot Chili for Your Dish on Valentine’s Day

Eating, is an activity that puts energy to the mind and body. So this only confirms that what you feed your mouth also feeds your mind.

Chili jalapeno peppers have long been used in spicy meals. Indian, Creole and Cajun cuisine rely heavily on jalapenos for chili sauce. The smaller they are, the hotter they get! The simple fact that peppers are so potent makes us wonder if they are really for humans. They make a great ingredient, but in my opinion, they shouldn’t be eaten on a regular basis… except on Valentine’s Day!

A Lover's Salad

Chili food, literally, is an invigorating spice with an exotic reputation and can stimulate endorphins, which in turn, can really turn you on, and since there are yet no scientific claims that prove this as true, people still believe in Aphrodisiacs.

On Valentine’s Day, let spicy foods get your blood flowing and naturally turn up the heat in your body.

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The Simplest Romantic Recipe – A Your Smart Kitchen Idea

I was thinking of sharing this Newsletter issue of Your Smart Kitchen.You can imagine how a simple recipe such as this can make your Valentines Day breakfast sweetly romantic.

A Berry-Topped Pancake Image

By: Terry Retter of Your Smart Kitchen
What can you do to make a special Valentine’s Day meal for your sweetie? Make it hot, make it healthy, and make it easy with these romantic recipe ideas.
Let’s start with some breakfast or brunch suggestions.

Puffy Oven Pancakes

Puffy and pretty, with a refreshing hint of lemon, this berry-topped pancake is a melt-in-your-mouth morning wake-up or addition to a special brunch!Serves 2


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of 2% milk
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1/4 cup sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar


  • Divide butter between two 2-cup round baking dishes. Place on a baking sheet. Heat in a 400° oven until butter is melted.
  • In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, lemon peel and vanilla. Whisk in flour until blended. Pour over butter. Bake, uncovered, for 14-16 minutes or until golden brown and puffy.
  • In a small bowl, gently combine the berries. Spoon onto pancakes; sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. Yield: 2 servings.

Nutritional Facts 1 serving equals 351 calories, 18 g fat (9 g saturated fat), 248 mg cholesterol, 210 mg sodium, 35 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 12 g protein.

Originally published in Cooking for 2 Summer 2007
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