Nov 30, 2009

Recipe for Relaxation

Already feeling the stress of the holiday season?!  Here's a treat you can enjoy while kicking back in front of a cozy fire (or for those of us in Southern CA, in front of the fan, so you don't start sweating):

Cocktail:  The Naughty Girl Scout
1 packet Light Hot Chocolate (click here for the tastiest low-cal options)
2 Tbsp Peppermint Schnapps
1 tsp Candy Cane Shavings (smash a peppermint of piece of candy cane)
5 mini marshmallows

Prepare hot chocolate according to package directions.  Stir in Schnapps, then top with marshmallows and candy cane shavings.  Make an easy non-alcoholic version of this cocktail by skipping the Schnapps and adding 1/4 tsp peppermint extract.


Nov 23, 2009

Surviving the Holiday Season

Oh, the holidays.  Such trouble for our waistlines!

But instead of telling you to avoid parties with buffets, drink water not egg nog, maintain your usual workout routine, and load your Thanksgiving plate with green beans instead of stuffing, I'm going to be realistic.  Because who are we kidding?  We all indulge during the holiday season (even nutritionists).  So rather than telling you to stave off indulgence (only to make you feel guilty when you don't take the advice), let's just focus on how to recover quickly so you can go back to feeling and looking your best.

The day after you've overeaten: 
Make a point to be active, and return to a normal eating routine.  Do not skip meals!  Instead, focus on eating especially light foods, like fruits & vegetables and lean proteins, so that you don't end up starving at the end of the day, only to find yourself overeating again.

The day after you've had too many spiked egg nogs:  
Unfortunately, a hangover is like a broken heart in that the only thing that cures it is time.  Caffeine, greasy food, Vitamin B powders are not going to help.  So rehydrate with plenty of water and diluted juice/diluted Gatorade, get some fresh air, and rest up. 

The day after you've lounged on the couch for 16 hours straight: 
Go for a few short walks, restore your inner peace with a yoga class, do some stretching at home, or hit the gym.  Just get moving, in whatever way is most enjoyable for you.

And that's it.  Remember, one day of bad eating or laziness isn't going to kill you.  But a week's worth of days like this will take a toll on how you feel...and also how your pants feel when you're trying to button them up.  So try to balance indulgent days with normal days, because come January, you'll want to look back on the holiday season as a time when you ate your share of fudge, but didn't go up 3 sizes.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Nov 22, 2009

Thanksgiving Dessert Ideas

Are you in charge of bringing dessert to Thanksgiving dinner, but tired of the usual pumpkin pie? Try one of these fall desserts, which will please your recipients' palettes but serve as a nice change of pace.

My favorite of the moment is this one which I turned into
an apple cake by replacing the nectarines with one thinly sliced Fuji apple (I also reduced the butter to 1/2 a stick, added 1/4 cup plain yogurt, and reduced the sugar to 1/2 cup). Serve with a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt and a sprinkling of cinnamon.

Here are some other ideas:

1) Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie -- the ginger snap crust is exquisite...and the ice cream makes this treat slide down easily, even when you're really full. (I know you're asking yourself "what kind of nutritionist says that?" --but it's Thanksgiving after all).

2) Cranberry Chocolate Tart -- tangy 'n sweet, this is a fab choice. Use only 3 Tbsp of butter in the crust, and when making the filling, replace the whipping cream with chilled evaporated fat free milk.

3) Maple Walnut Cake -- dates make this cake incredibly moist and sweet. I used 100% whole wheat pastry flour, instead of part all-purpose flour -- it's still divine.

Let me know what you try out, and
Enjoy the holiday!

Nov 20, 2009

Recipes from Women in Business event

Two kinds of pizza you can make at home!


1 ball pizza dough (either purchased or homemade)
½ cup (approx) reduced-sugar apricot preserves
2 cooked chicken breasts, diced into cubes
1-2 cups dried apricots, chopped
4 oz Gorgonzola cheese
1-2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

If using refrigerated dough, let sit out at room temp for at least 20 min so it’s
easier to work with. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. In a skillet over medium heat,
sauté the onions with 1 tbsp olive oil plus a sprinkling of salt & sugar until they
begin to caramelize, about 15 minutes. Stir every couple minutes. Set aside.

Spray baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray (or rub with olive oil) and work
dough out with your palms so that it fits the sheet (you can also roll out with a
rolling pin, and if you have a pizza stone, you can use that in place of baking
sheet). Poke a few holes in the dough with a fork, then bake for 2-3 min or until
crust begins to form. Remove from oven & let cool a couple minutes.

Spread the preserves like you would pizza sauce all over the crust. Distribute the
remaining ingredients, including the caramelized onion slices, around the whole
pizza, ending with the mozzarella cheese. Bake for 10-14 minutes or until the
cheese is golden brown. Let cool 5 min, the slice & serve.


1 ball pizza dough
½ cup pesto (store-bought or homemade)
¼ cup olive tapenade (optional)
2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella
2 large heirloom tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh basil leaves
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Follow same dough instructions as above,
including baking the dough for 2-3 minutes to form a crust.

With a spatula, spread the pesto and olive tapenade (if using) evenly over the
dough. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the pesto, then arrange the basil leaves (chop
if desired) and tomato slices around the pizza, finishing with the mozzarella and a
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Bake for 10-14 minutes or until cheese is golden brown and pizza is heated
through. Let sit 5 min before slicing and serving.

Women in Business Event

Check out my wine tasting, pizza demo, and catered dinner at the Women in Business event hosted by Tadpole Marketing ( in Venice Beach. It was a great evening--so many amazing women with amazing businesses. Thanks Tadpole, for letting Eating Made Easy provide healthy & inspiring food!

Nov 5, 2009

Yummy Couscous

Sometimes I get stuck in a rut with side dishes. This is a couscous that can be served with just about anything -- salmon, chicken, pork, or even roasted vegetables. It's quick and easy.

Yummy Couscous Recipe

3 3 / 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

2 1 / 2 cups couscous (try to find whole wheat couscous!)

1 1 / 2 cups golden raisins

1 1 / 2 cups pine nuts toasted*

1/4 cup roasted red and yellow bell pepper (roast your own, or buy the jarred kind)

handful of chopped fresh parsley

1 / 4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Fresh-ground black pepper and sea salt, to taste

In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken broth and salt to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat and mix in the couscous and raisins. Cover and let stand about 15 minutes or until the broth has been absorbed and the couscous is tender. Fluff the couscous with a fork and mix in the nuts and roasted bell peppers. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice. Add to the couscous and mix well. Taste for seasoning adding pepper, if desired. Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled.

*To toast pine nuts: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring once or twice, until lightly browned. Careful -- they burn easily!

Nov 1, 2009

Warm squash salad

As much as I love tradition, this may be the perfect alternative to the yam-marshmallow-butter mixture that everyone serves on Thanksgiving...which is controversial at most family tables. If you don't already love squash and sweet will after tasting this salad!

Here's the rough recipe:
Cube some butternut squash and sweet potatoes (both peeled), and place on a nonstick baking sheet with an onion, cut into half moon slices. Toss with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and cinnamon, then roast at 450 until fork-tender and browned on the edges.

In a large bowl, toss some baby spinach with a vinaigrette made from 2 parts apple cider vinegar, 1 part maple syrup, 1 part olive oil, and a small dollop of Dijon mustard. Lay coated spinach leaves on a large platter, then top with the squash mixture (while its still warm, so the spinach wilts a little) and sprinkle with toasted pecans and golden raisins. Yum!