Monday, July 16, 2012

Not-So-Guilty Pleasures


I never really understood why some people feel guilty over food. When I was younger, I used to be able to eat anything I wanted without worrying about gaining weight, fat or calories.

Well, not anymore. Now I have to watch all of that stuff. I love vegetables, so eating low-fat, low-calorie isn't a chore for me. Put a chocolate bar in front of me, however, and I'm toast. Are you in the same boat? If so, here are a few recipes you might be interested in.

Chocolate Meringue Cookies- 20 calories and no fat per cookie
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
4 egg whites
2/3 cups granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
Ground cinnamon, to taste

Preheat oven to 250 F. Mix cocoa powder, sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Take a large bowl and combine the egg whites and cream of tartar. Whip slowly until the mixture if foamy, either using a whisk or electric beater. Once it's foamy, speed up to a medium pace and add the sugar mixture, one tablespoon at a time. Do this until you see soft peaks.

Now, cover two cookie sheets with aluminum foil. Using a pastry bag or sealed plastic bag with one corner cut off, squeeze off 1” dollops and bake for an hour and 15 minutes. Once done, turn the oven off and leave the cookies in for half an hour. Now, remove the sheets from the oven and put cookies on a cooling rack.

Here's a rather interesting recipe for a fruity, frozen treat.

Cherry-Merlot Granita-70 calories per 1/3 cup serving
1 cup merlot
1 large navel orange
1 cup frozen dark sweet cherries, pitted
1 cup water
1 cup ice cubes
¼ cup sugar

Mix the water and sugar in a saucepan and boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Then, take off from heat and stir in the ice cubes. Meanwhile, squeeze ½ cup of juice from the orange and grate 1 tablespoon of rind.

Now, put the sugar mixture and cherries in a blender and puree for 1 minute. Stir in the juice, rind and 1 cup merlot and pour into an 8” square pan. Cover and freeze until firm, which is usually around 8 hours. Once firm, use a fork to create a fluffy consistency.

And finally, for an awesome and quick after-school snack:

'Cocoa-Nut' Bananas- 80 calories per ½-banana serving
4 teaspoons toasted unsweetened coconut
4 teaspoons cocoa powder
2 small bananas, sliced at an angle

Just put the cocoa and coconuts on separate plates, roll the banana slice in the cocoa and dip in the coconut. Simple. I'd say it's idiot-proof, but that will probably encourage someone somewhere to try to make a better idiot. :) Frankly, we have enough already!

So there you have it-a few sweet and satisfying snack ideas that aren't overly fattening. These sound so good that I might even be able to get my picky-eater husband to try them! Enjoy!

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