Archive for category fat-free

Be My Fat-Free Valentine 2017!

Fat-Free Cranberry Feta Caviar served with cucumber slices and pretzel chips

Did you know that over one million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged each year? That amount of cards is only second to those sent at Christmastime! Wow that’s a whole bunch of love being passed around!

You can also pass around this heart-healthy nosh, and it is the perfect recipe for a romantic fireside picnic with your special someone.  Check this out, get some inspiration from Sue at “a purdy little house”. Doesn’t that look cozy and inviting? Great job, Sue, we love this!

Solo this Valentine’s Day?  Treat yourself right, be your own Valentine and get some “me time”. Invite a solo friend or two for cocktails and appetizers. Valentine’s Day is not just for couples, it can be a celebration of all kinds of love! Find some more ideas for Valentine’s picnics by just doing a Google search which produced ideas like this one below.  Lots of ideas on the web for inspiration!


Valentine’s Day Indoor Family Picnic Ideas

Cranberries are the perfect color for Valentine’s Day, and are also an excellent source of nutrition. Cranberries contain Vitamin C and an array of  phytonutrients which include anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anti-cancer properties. All good reasons to include cranberries in your diet.

My favorite low-fat pretzel to use for this easy recipe is by The Snack Factory, check out all of their delicious flavor options. Crisp cucumber slices are perfect too, so refreshing and light! Pick you favorite cracker, or perhaps some melba toast. Have fun, use your imagination, and comment below to let us know what accompanied your caviar!

Fat-Free Cranberry Feta Caviar

The Fat Free Gourmet’s Cranberry Feta Caviar

  • Fresh or canned whole berry cranberry sauce (not jellied)
  • Fat-Free Feta Cheese, crumbled
  • Freshly ground black pepper (not pre-ground)
  • One of the following of your choice, chopped fresh or dried: Thyme, Oregano, or Cilantro

Layer in the order listed above, as shown in photos, in amounts according to your liking, onto a serving dish or onto individual crackers, pretzels, or sliced cucumbers. Now enjoy!

Cranberry Feta Appetizer wlogo1

That’s all there is to it! My favorite choice for herb is dried thyme, and I like lots of ground pepper too…so yum!

Remember to celebrate love and life to the fullest, be kind to your heart with healthy food and lifestyle choices!

Make it a Beautiful Day!

Epicuriously yours,



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The Holiday Spread – Not the Food, Not Your Waistline…



Ughhh… so here we are, 2017 has arrived and we have no more excuses for guilt-free gluttony! Time to settle down into the everyday world and the obligation of taking care of ourselves.

Some of us may have done better than others at moderating the sugar and fat that passed through our celebrating lips, others may have consumed a bit more calories than needed. Calories will always be king – too much of any macronutrient calorie gets stored as fat if we don’t burn it. Calories-in must equal calories-out or less, respectively, if we want to maintain, or lose body fat. That is the crux of it and why exercise becomes a crucial ingredient of a healthy body lifestyle. Move it or get fat – Get 20  if you can!

Let’s address the dreaded “New Year’s Resolution”. I don’t have one. It is a life-long goal for me to monitor what I consume or I would weigh 5 or 6 tons by now, ha-ha, insert un-smiley face here. I was not blessed with a stellar metabolism – next time they pass those out I am at the front of that line and at the line front of the VO2 max endowments! My new year consists of a back-on-the-wagon approach, I am not in shock nor disappointed by an onset of abrupt changes, but start towing the line again, I must.

Time for a detox, some new exercises, new meditations and visualizations, and a renewing of commitment to reach and or maintain previous goals. This is exciting for me because I always enjoy the challenge of new beginnings!

This year I received some beautiful Christmas presents from my daughter, Vanessa. She gave me a 2017 Erin Condren day planner, some awesomely cute sticky notes, sparkly gold pens, and a Zen Garden!! I am all about organization so these are my kind of toys! I love writing down goals, it keeps me on track. The Zen Garden will be there to keep me focused if I need some positive distraction.


Erin Condren planner with awesome sticky notes!


My Zen Garden

Some of you may already know that I am a life-long, low-fat eater due to my family health history. I was diagnosed clinically hypothyroid and anemic at the age of 7 and have endured severe to moderate adrenal fatigue for over 25 years, these issues led to my heart-attack and subsequent quad bypass surgery in 2011 – the doc said my eating habits saved me from an earlier heart attack and death. No, I will not eat Paleo. No I do not do coconut oil. We each need our own diet, diets are not “one size fits all”. I respect all healthy eating styles and endorse what works for each individual.

My genetic testing shows that I cannot process fats in a positive manner, and guess what? At least 33% of you are in the same genetic boat with me! No worries, you and I have got this. My recipes help get through the holidays without much damage, help with life’s other celebrations, and a few cheat days here and there. I strive for a balance of quality nutrients and some “good fats”. It works for me, I am not on any heart or cholesterol lowering meds.

No food recipe for you in this post, however I am offering a recipe of sorts. Here is my “basic recipe” for a Happy New Year:

Eat lots of greens! Greens raise your level of vibration and that is a positive thing. Spinach, Kale, Swiss Chard, Asparagus, anything green and preferably raw, yes, raw. You will get the most benefit from the vitamins and minerals contained therein if the greens are consumed uncooked. Smoothies are best, salads work too. Add in some pineapple for reducing inflammation, and blueberries for antioxidant boosting. Next, squeeze in at least 20 minutes of yoga, resistance, or aerobic exercise each day. I suggest using the Fat Secret application or one similar, to monitor all of that.  Fat Secret counts calories, macronutrients, and has a fitness tracker. It is another tool that I use daily to keep me in line.

These few ingredients above are only part of the “Recipe for 2017”, please add in a good dose of the following in generous amounts:

Adopt a positive attitude about life, living, and friendships. Start with honoring yourself. Small rituals can help create and maintain a positive mood which will be contagious to others around you. Start small. Take a spa bath or shower at home. Light a few candles, make some lemon water to sip, and soak in a warm tub infused with essential oils, baking soda, and Epsom Salt, for at least 20 minutes. Start eating healthier foods, or introduce more organic foods into your diet. Start a new exercise program or hobby. Read 10 minutes a day. Learn something new. Put the oxygen mask on yourself first, then step out to help others. There is little more satisfying than sharing good things when you are whole and available. Share with those in true need, support a homeless human or animal, try to make a difference in this world. Positive vibrations promote a positive environment for all  – all of us need a little more of that. You can make your life, your body, your world, a beautiful place in which to dwell! Start with one ingredient at a time, adding more as needed to taste.

…spread the joy, not your waistline.

This is your recipe…Make It A Beautiful Life!


Epicuriously yours,

The Fat Free Gourmet

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Fat-Free Swiss Cheese, Mushroom, and Spinach Mini-Quiches

Fat-Free Swiss Cheese Mini Quiches made with Fat-Free, Gluten-Free, Lifetime Swiss Cheese

…made with Fat-Free Lifetime Swiss Cheese!

So here’s the thing, you have a small party, with your body-building buddies and you don’t want to cheat too badly…

No, no, wait…you have a get-together with friends that all have cholesterol or diet issues and you just want a light snack…

Well, not really, but perhaps you are serving breakfast to house guests who are on a low-fat/low-calorie diet, aaaand…

…or maybe you just want to treat yourself and that special someone to a romantic heart-healthy brunch!

This recipe will fit the bill for any of the above, so let’s roll!


First, a big thank you to Lifetime for making their wonderful Fat-Free, Low-Fat, and Gluten-Free line of delicious cheeses! I will be featuring their product in future recipes, and wow have I got some great recipe ideas for you! If you cannot find their cheeses at your local store, talk to the store manager or put in a written request for your store to carry Lifetime Cheese. Get their info and/or visit them on Facebook, Twitter, or on their yummy Website. Check out their full line of epicurious cheeses and look for more scrumptuous recipe ideas!

Let’s do these Quiche!



1        medium sweet onion, diced (I used Maui Sweet)
2        cups baby spinach, coarsely chopped
*        Fat-Free cooking spray
*        salt and pepper to taste (I use sea-salt and freshly ground)

1        8-ounce package Fat-Free Lifetime Swiss Cheese, grated

3-5     mushrooms sliced 3/8″ thick

1-1/4  cups fat-free egg substitute
1/2     cup fat-free half and half
1/4     teaspoon ground nutmeg
*         salt and pepper to taste

12      3-1/2″ square wonton wrappers


1) Heat frying pan to medium high heat, then spray with fat-free cooking spray and immediately add chopped onions. Cook for 15 minutes stirring them often to brown evenly. You do not need a lot of spray just a light coat. When browned nicely, add spinach and 1-2 tablespoons of  water to keep moist and wilt the spinach. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Onions after 15 minutes of cooking.

Onions after 15 minutes of cooking.

Add baby spinach and a bit of water to wilt and moisten the mixture

Add baby spinach and a bit of water to wilt and moisten the mixture

2) Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.

3) Whisk or blend in blender just until bubbly: egg, half and half, and nutmeg. Set aside.

Set up for prep and ready to assemble

Set up for prep and ready to assemble

4) Lightly spray a standard 12-muffin pan, or two 6-muffin pans, with cooking spray. Place wonton wrappers evenly into the cups. Do NOT press firmly, allow them to fold with air pockets, they will settle as they are filled and cooked.

Won-ton and first layer of Swiss Cheese

Wonton and first layer of Swiss Cheese

5) Sprinkle 1/2 of the Lifetime Fat-Free Swiss Cheese dividing equally into each wonton cup. Next, top with spinach and onions, then the remaining cheese. Top each with a mushroom slice. Pour egg mixture into each cup, dividing evenly between the 12 cups. Hint: fill each quiche with scant amount needed, go back and repeat a second time to ensure the mixture is distributed equally.

Mini Swiss Cheese Quiche ready to go into the oven

Ready to bake in the oven – 350 degrees for 20 minutes

6) Bake for 20 minutes.  Quiche should be a light golden brown, centers should be set. Serve immediately. Quiche can be reheated in the microwave. Best if served fresh out of the oven. Can refrigerate and reheated the next day.

Tweaks:  I like them with a garnish of honey mustard and lots of freshly ground pepper. Fat-free sour cream laced with a touch of cream sherry is a fantastic brunch garnish squiggle on the plate! Add more mushrooms if you like, or replace the baby spinach with Swiss chard or your favorite cooked greens. They are perfect served with a fresh fruit salad for breakfast. As an appetizer, serve with a slightly sweet wine or a sweeter wine such as Moscato.

Fat-Free Mini Quiche fresh out of the oven!! Yum!!!

Fat-Free Mini Quiche fresh out of the oven, Yum!!!


Thanks again, Lifetime, for making this wonderful fat-free, gluten-free Swiss cheese.

Enjoy LIfetime Fat-Free Cheeses!

Enjoy LIfetime Fat-Free Cheeses!

Everyone enjoy!


Fat-Free Swiss Cheese, Mushroom, and Spinach Mini-Quiche Nutritional Data

Servings per recipe         12
Per Quiche:

Calories      78
Total Fat     0.02g
Saturated Fat    0g
% of Calories from Fat    0%
Cholesterol  4.7mg
Sodium       207mg
Carbohydrate       11g     207mg
Fiber             0.6g
Sugar        2.2g
Protein        2.8g



Make it a great day! Eat to live and enjoy life!!

Epicuriously yours,


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Melinda’s Favorite Fat-Free Christmas Cookies

Fat-Free Amaretti

The Fat-Free Gourmet’s Amaretti – the perfect heart-healthy Christmas Cookie

Fat-Free Amaretti

Making my way, or I should say eating my way, through Italy with my parents at the ripe ol’ age of fourteen, there were four things I ate and drank because I absolutely loved them: Asti Spumanti, an Italian sparkling wine made in the town of my maternal Grandfather; Binoli, a scrumptious little custard filled pastry; pasta, all kinds; and last but not the least, Amaretti cookies!

If you have never had them, they are wonderful, crunchy almond cookies made with ground almonds and egg whites. The good imported brands are sold at most Italian delicatessens and in some specialty grocery stores. I simply cannot pass them up! Needless to say, the following is not an original Italian recipe, but it mimics the original quite nicely! Serve with coffee or as an accompaniment to a fruit salad for a light desert. Perfect for Christmas-time treats, just sprinkle with red and green colored sugar topping before baking!


1        medium egg white, fresh only, no carton eggs*
1/8    teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2    cup granulated sugar

2        teaspoons almond extract

2        cups Kellogg’s Special K cereal

Raw or colored sugar for topping


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Whisk together egg white, cream of tartar, and sugar until blended and syrupy. Do not beat into meringue.

Whisk in almond extract. Fold in cereal until evenly coated.

For the best results bake on silicone baking mats and do not use cooking spray. Spoon one tablespoon dollops of the mixture onto lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle cookie tops with raw sugar or colored sugar.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.  Cookies should be a light golden brown, centers should be crisp not chewy. Allow cookies to cool for at least five minutes, then  transfer to cooling rack. Cookies will harden as they cool. Store in an air tight container. Makes approximately 20 cookies.


*Boxed egg products are pasteurized, meaning they have been pre-heated to prevent spoilage and bacterial growth. They will not yield a good result in this recipe, you must use fresh egg whites, out of the shell. Trust me, I have tried it, lol!

Fat-Free Italian cookies

Fat-Free Amaretti Christmas Cookies


Amaretti Nutritional Data

Servings per recipe         20
Per Cookie:

Calories       31
Total Fat     0.01g
Saturated Fat    0g
% of Calories from Fat    0%
Cholesterol  0mg
Sodium       26mg
Carbohydrate       7g
Protein        1g

Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to All! Let’s make 2016 a Healthy and happy year! Eat to live and enjoy life!!

Epicuriously yours,


Fat-Free Amaretti from The Fat Free Gourmet

The Fat-Free Gourmet’s favorite Christmas Cookie, Amaretti

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The Fat Free Gourmet’s Zucchini and Corn Flakes — or How big is too big?

Fat Free Zucchini and Corn Flakes with Fat-Free Ranch Dressing

Fat Free Zucchini and Corn Flakes with Fat-Free Ranch Dressing

A fat-free recipe for medium garden grown zucchini, 
or other vegetable of your heart’s desire!

Ahhh zucchini.

You can stuff them, steam them, sauté them, even eat them raw! They are a low-calorie vegetable that will take on the flavor, be it sweet or savory, of whatever you choose to mix with them.

Garden grown zucchini present a special challenge…size – it really does matter.

Young tender 6 to 7-inch zucchini squash are perfect for steaming or sauté, 8 to 10-inch are great for stuffing. If you allow them to grow  larger, they become a problem: the skin is tough, the flavor is strong, and they tend to be a little bitter. Typically, zucchini larger than 10 inches go to what I call, “grated recipe” status; I use them in breads, fritters, cookies, salads. But, oh those seeds, what to do with them, they definitely must go!

This year’s garden provided an overabundance of larger zucchini nearing the end of the growing season due to my waning  attention. With a glass of Moscato wine in one hand, and a 14-inch long zucchini in the other, I decided to do something daring…

I laid it on the counter. There it was, in front me, about 2 inches in diameter. What to do with it? I grabbed my knife and hesitantly sliced it in half. (Now, here is where it gets tricky: how big are the darn seeds?!) Hmmm, I inspected. This one had smallish seeds, and so I finished the slicing of it.  I continued into ½ inch thick round slices. Not holding anything back, I spontaneously moved forward with a recipe I had been flirting with for quite some time!

You don’t really need a certain sized zucchini for this recipe, not a giant, smaller is better. Suffice it to say, my 14-incher turned out cravingly well even though it was a slightly larger sized zucchini than I would have normally chosen to use.

Here comes the fun part of this recipe: the tweaks! Those fun creative touches that will make this recipe your own. I am all about experimenting and trying new things! Looking forward to hearing what tweaks you did and the results. Try some of these and create a cravable new favorite!

  • Use any sized zucchini except a giant, and cut it into any shape you like, you may have to adjust cooking time for smaller or larger sized pieces.
  • Use any vegetable you like, simply adjust the cooking time for the density of the vegetable. For instance, potatoes and cauliflower may take a little longer cooking time to achieve the desired tenderness.
  • Serve as an appetizer, a side to your favorite main dish, or as a main dish if you are doing vegetarian.
  • Change up the ethnicity! Add different spices to the egg or the breading mix, your choice, let you imagination go wild! (I like to season both mixtures to give ‘two layers of flavor”.)
  • Serve with a sauce and garnish! Fat-Free Ginger Sesame Dressing (Lighthouse Sesame Ginger Dressing is one of my favorite!) or a few dashes of soy sauce for Asian; with fat-free pasta sauce for Italian, with traditional fat-free Ranch or Blue Cheese dressing for game day festivities, or make up your own low-fat or fat-free sauce! You can even top them with a few sprinkles of fat-free cheese for the last minute of baking in the oven. Pictured are Mae Ploy Sweet Chilli Sauce, a dollop of spicy mustard, and sprinkle of cilantro; also pictured with fat-free ranch or blue cheese dressing.
  • Marinate the zucchini before you bread them for another layer of flavor. A 20 minute soak in your favorite marinade would do the trick. How about soy sauce mixed with seasoned rice wine vinegar, lemon juice, or perhaps balsamic vinegar with a dash of garlic. Dill pickle juice for that “fried pickle” flavor!

Here’s the basic recipe:

1 14-inch long by 2 inch in diameter zucchini, cut ½ inch in thickness, or equivalent vegetable, cut accordingly

1 ½ cups fat-free egg substitute
1 teaspoon onion powder

1 ½ cups Kellogg’s Corn Flake Crumbs or finely crushed (see photos) corn flakes
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
Salt to taste
(add 1 tablespoon of grated low-fat parmesan topping to this mixture if desired)

Pre-heat oven to 350°. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil, then spray with a light coating of fat-free cooking spray. Set aside.
Cut vegetables, set aside.
In a shallow bowl mix together egg substitute and onion powder, set aside.

Egg wash for Fat-Free Baked Zucchini and Corn Flakes

Beaten egg and onion powder. Add other spices to the wash for an extra layer of flavor!

In another shallow bowl mix together the last four ingredients, set aside.

Corn flake dredge

Corn flake breading mixture…yum!

Set up your breading prep area; from right to left or left to right whichever is most comfortable for you. Set up in a line with vegetables first, egg mixture second, corn flake crumb mixture, then baking pan. First dip vegetables into the egg mix using only your left or right hand, next into the corn flakes using the opposite hand, then place onto baking sheet. This method is the best way to keep your hands from getting “breaded”!

Prep area set up

Set up for prep area, start from the side most comfortable for you.

Zucchini in pan ready to bake.

Ready to bake!

Bake for 30 minutes or until desired color is reached, and vegetables are fork tender. Serve warm. Serves 6.

Baked corn flake encrusted zucchini fresh out of the oven!

Fresh out of the oven!

Can be made ahead and reheated in the microwave.

(Yum, I just devoured some of the photo shoot left-overs from yesterday!)

Serve with the sauce and garnish of your choice.


Nutritional Data
6 servings, zucchini only, no garnish or sauce
Amount per serving:

Calories 127.8
Total Fat 0.0 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 282.9 mg
Potassium 321.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 24.1 g
Dietary Fiber 1.9 g
Sugars 3.5 g
Protein 8.6 g


Fat-Free baked corn flake encrusted zucchini with Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce and hot mustard.

Fat-free baked corn flake encrusted zucchini with Mae Ploy Sweet Chili sauce and spicy mustard.

Let me know how your “tweaks” turned out! Leave your comments below or on any of my social media haunts! I welcome everyone to share their ideas and results!

Hope you and yours are looking forward to a loving holiday season! I will be publishing the “Pumpkin Spice Latte Gelato” recipe soon, so be on the lookout!



Epicuriously yours,

Eliminate the excess – eat to live! ❤

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Be My Fat-Free Valentine with Cranberry Feta Caviar!

Fat-Free Cranberry Feta Caviar served with cucumber slices and pretzel chips

Fat-Free Cranberry Feta Caviar

Valentine’s Day is another reason to stay healthy for your loved ones – they need you!

Another holiday that centers around calories, but then what holiday doesn’t? Go for the right kind of calories and start out your special feast with a tasty, fat-free appetizer that is so very easy to make, it will be ready to serve in minutes! This heart-healthy nosh is perfect for a Valentine’s Day picnic anywhere: floor, snow cave, or bedroom! (wink-wink!)
Cranberries can be served year-round, and they are the perfect color for this holiday! If no one is available with whom you can celebrate this year, please treat yourself right, be your own Valentine and make this just for you! The health benefits of Cranberries are substantial, so go for it!

Serve this easy starter on low-fat pretzel crisps; pictured are the Snack Factory’s, Honey Mustard & Onion flavored pretzel crisps. Crisp cucumber slices are perfect too, so refreshing and light! Pick you favorite cracker, or perhaps some melba toast. Have fun, use your imagination, and comment below to let us know what accompanied your caviar!

Fat-Free Cranberry Feta Caviar

Perfect for a picnic in the forest or an afternoon tea, Fat-Free Cranberry Feta Caviar is a quick prep for unexpected guests!

FFG’s Cranberry Feta Caviar

  • Fresh or canned whole berry cranberry sauce (not jellied)
  • Fat-free feta cheese crumbles
  • Freshly ground black pepper (not pre-ground)
  • One of the following of your choice, chopped fresh or dried: Thyme, Oregano, or Cilantro

Layer in the order listed above, as shown in photos, in amounts according to your liking, onto a serving dish or onto individual crackers, pretzels, or sliced cucumbers. Now enjoy!

Cranberry Feta Appetizer wlogo1

The Fat Free Gourmet’s Cranberry Feta Caviar

That’s all there is to it! My favorite choice for herb is dried thyme, and I like lots of ground pepper…so yum!

Remember to celebrate love and life to the fullest, and be kind to your heart with healthy food and lifestyle!

Epicuriously yours,
Melinda ❤

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