low calorie

Review: The Ultimate Low-Calorie Meals Book from BH&G

As the Autumn cookbook season continues it’s time to take a look at another recent release from the good folks at Better Homes & Garden, The Ultimate Low-Calorie Meals Book.  And this one is tailor-made for helping folks drop those Christmas pounds.

The Ultimate Low-Calorie Meals BookNew in the Ultimate series, The Ultimate Low-Calorie Meals Book offers hundreds of recipes and ideas that make eating healthy and watching your weight easy and delicious. These recipes are ideal for light and nutritious everyday meals that form the basis of a healthy lifestyle. Filled with dishes the entire family will love, recipes are clearly marked with icons that let you quickly identify recipes that are ready in 30 minutes or less, high in fiber, and low in sodium.

Packed with more than 400 delicious and nutritious low-calorie meals and hundreds of beautiful photos, The Ultimate Low-Calorie Meals Book is a great resource at a great price.

  • Features more than 400 flavorful calorie- and fat-conscious recipes, including main dishes, snacks, sandwiches, pizza, desserts, restaurant favorites, and make-ahead meals
  • Includes more than 300 gorgeous full-color photographs that make every page inspiring and easy to follow
  • Special Healthy Eating Basics chapter
  • Special features include substitution charts that help make every meal more calorie-conscious, up-to-date diet and nutrition advice, and much more

A book like The Ultimate Low-Calorie Meals Book is perfect for those who want to start the New Year by eating a little leaner.  With hundreds of easy to prepare recipes taking up nearly 500 pages you could conceivably eat something from this book every single day and not repeat a recipe for over a year.  That should keep that New Year’s Resolution from burning out in week two.

The book is well organized and chock full of colorful food porn.  But hey, why take my word for it?

Ginger-Berry Pie and Vanilla Ice Cream

There are a lot of things growing this time of year to get excited about.  Tomatoes, peas, squash, the list goes on.  But for me the best thing about spring produce is berries.  My favorite fruit on earth is raspberries, one of the few fruits incidentally that does not grow on the Gulf Coast where I grew up.  Perhaps that is why I love them so, they are always a treat.

But I also love all spring berries like blackberries, strawberries and blueberries.   There are two wild blueberry bushes in my yard and they are loaded with tiny little morsels of yumminess right now.  My neighbor picked a bowlful to make her morning pancakes and I have already harvested a delicious pie from them.  The best thing about those bushes is that it’s free food.  Not exactly manna from heaven but blueberries from heaven are almost as good in this economy.

Now the thing is that pies are not exactly the healthiest things in the world.  No fear, I have recently developed a new berry pie recipe that is healthy and good.  Not normal healthy food good but good.  Additively good.  I rely on two of my old favorites, agave nectar to replace the sugar and coconut oil to replace the butter then I make a crust using fat free ginger snaps and now we have a flavor combination that is remarkable.  And it’s easy to make, too.

: Ginger-Berry Pie

Crust:

  • 1 2/3 c. fat free gingersnaps, crushed
  • 1/4 c. coconut oil
  • 1/4 c. agave nectar

Filling:

  • 3 cups fresh spring berries (cut strawberries in half)
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  1. Thoroughly blend crumbs, coconut oil and agave. Press firmly on bottom and side of a 9″ pie pan and chill.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together agave and cornstarch. Add berries; gently toss until they are coated. When using frozen fruit allow fruit mixture to stand for 15 to 30 minutes or until fruit is partially thawed. Stir berry mixture, and transfer to the crust. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20 – 35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. I love to top mine with a little vanilla ice cream and guess what. I have a healthy recipe for that as well.

Preparation time: 45(s)

Cooking time: 20 – 35 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8

This is for a 1.5 qt. countertop ice cream machine.  I specked this out and a 1/2 cup portion has less than 80 calories.  My pal Susan Irby (the Bikini Chef) will be so proud.

: Vanilla Ice Cream
  • 1 15 ounce can evaporated fat free milk
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 15 ounce can coconut milk
  1. In a small sauce pan heat evaporated milk over low heat. Do not boil. Stir in the agave cook just below a simmer. In a small bowl lightly beat the eggs. Slowly whisk a little of the hot milk mixture into the eggs to temper them. Repeat this until half of the milk mixture is incorporated into the eggs then pour it all into the pot making a custard. Cook over low heat for 3 minutes, it will thicken. Refrigerate until completely cool, overnight is best. Stir the coconut milk and vanilla into the custard and place into your ice cream machine. Follow machine directions from there.

Preparation time: 24 hour(s)

Cooking time: 15 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8

 

ToFurkey Is ToFunky

Tofu is not natural. It is a processed food, a highly processed food as a matter of fact. ToFurkey is tofu that is processed over and over and over again. Then it’s processed some more.

Now if you’ll recall I have already exposed to the world that everyone who says they like tofu is lying through their teeth.  No person in the history of mankind, from the wheel to the moon has ever actually liked tofu.  There is no universe where tofu is appetizing.  Those who eat it do so because of peer pressure, insanity or some combination of the two.

Psychologists estimate that 1 person in 10 is completely incapable of recognizing sarcasm.  So for those of you in that 10% I’ll take this opportunity to point out that the previous paragraph was a stellar example of sarcastic hyperbolism.  It is my favorite way to make a point because, well, it amuses me.

That, by the way, was an example of narcissism.

So back to tofu being a nasty, highly processed food.  Most people do not like it’s texture because, well, it’s nasty.  In all honesty it is hard to find any fault with its taste because it doesn’t have any.  Tofu is like eating Styrofoam, only a less appetizing Styrofoam.

Amy’s, a veg-friendly processed food company probably makes some of the most wholesome mass-produced foods on the market and they process their soy beans nine different ways in order to produce a batch of tofu.  You can watch their process HERE.  I have a lot of respect for Amy’s but even they get a few things wrong.

In their video they state that they only use organic soy beans which means they are not genetically modified.  Genetic modification does not disqualify something from being organic.  It should, but it doesn’t.  I guess that’s the result of having a President that’s in the pocket of agri-business lobbyists.  Or more accurately, four Presidents in a row.

So if Amy’s, a company committed to natural, wholesome food, processes soy beans nine times to make tofu can you imagine how many times less scrupulous companies do it?

Now that you know that tofu is a highly processed food dig this.  Recently the History Channel did a segment about how ToFurkey is made.  It starts with tofu (which is processed at least nine times) and processes it even more adding tons (literally) of additives and chemicals.  You college kids may want to try the Processed Foods Drinking Game – just grab a bottle of Jack and take a swig for each new process.  But be forewarned, you may not be around for the end of this video.  Check it out and then read on:

After watching that, the pink goo McDonald’s uses to make their McNuggets doesn’t seem quite as gross.  An interesting note is that the narrator actually referred to ToFurkey as healthy.

There is an important distinction to make here and it is probably the closest you’ll come to an actual point in this ramble of a post.  Thanks to Weight Watcher’s, Jenny Craig, et al along with Hollywood and print media we have confused low-fat/low-calorie with healthy.  Low-fat/low-calorie is not pseudonymous with healthy.

Cyanide is low-fat/low-calorie.

Sarin Gas is low-fat/low-calorie.

Weapons-grade Plutonium is low-fat/low-calorie.

E-coli is low-fat/low-calorie.

Herpes is low-fat/low-calorie.

Get it?  Low-fat/low-calorie is not the same as healthy.  Coconut oil is very high in fat and very high in calories but it is healthier than extra virgin olive oil, canola oil, butter and it is damned sure better for you than margarine.  Both the medium chain fatty acids and the calories in coconut oil will ramp up your metabolism helping your body to burn fat cells better than just about anything out there.  Coconut oil is a classic example of high-fat/high-calorie being healthy.  ToFurkey conversely is a classic example of low-fat/low-calorie being unhealthy.  Plus, it just doesn’t taste very good.

So before you start spouting off about how healthy or ethical tofu is I invite you to go ToFurk yourself.  We ain’t inner-stead, thank ya.

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less

Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

Stu’s Latest Kindle Single is Just $2.99

Stuart’s Honors & Awards

2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up

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