Posts Tagged low-fat

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-family-picnic

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,

Melinda

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What is ApoE4? Why You Should Be Tested – A Quick Primer on Paleo for the Confused Fat Consumer


To Paleo or not to Paleo? That is the question.

If you are ApoE 3/4 or 4/4 that is not a question at all, you do not process lipids well – lipids are fats.

Approximately 25-30% of the population have the ApoE4 variant. If you do, you are at a higher risk for Cardio Vascular Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, and more. Find out if you have this gene though lab testing…do it! You CAN fight your genes and win if you start the fight before it is too late. Get tested. Don’t know where to start? Talk to a health professional familiar with genetic testing and get it done. Here is a link to one lab that performs the tests required to get the ApoE4 answer. There are other labs out there, this is just a sample to help you get on the info track.

The diet data studies are in for us 4’s; low-fat, good-carb, is the only way for us to control our lipid profile. The Journal of Nutrition study looks at the ApoE genotype interaction with quantity and quality of dietary fat consumed.  The Journal of Lipid Research study looks at how the ApoE genotype modulates the LDL cholesterol-lowering response to a diet. Both determine lower fat intake in ApoE4 affected people is paramount in optimizing lipid profiles. More data is out there, please do some Googling!

Paleoists, I am not trying to “harsh your mello”, but I would like you to stop trying to convince EVERYONE that eating saturated fats as a method of weight reduction is safe. I don’t want my fellow 4’s, which could potentially include you, the Paleoista, to be killing themselves slowly.

“If we view the population as a statistical whole, switching from an unhealthy diet to a clean Paleo diet even if it is high in SFAs in average lowers the risk for CVD. Unfortunately, if we break down the numbers according to APOE status, this remains only true for those of us that don’t carry the APOE4 gene.

For carriers of the APOE4 gene consuming saturated fatty acids can substantially raise the risk of CVD

Unfortunately, the wider Paleo community has not yet realized this important fact and still promotes the consumption of SFAs to everyone, potentially putting people in harm’s way.”

Everyone should monitor their lipids. A full cholesterol profile is a must to determine if your food consumption is producing positive health results. Optimal eating habits should be the goal. So many factors are involved and cannot be addressed in one short blog post, but to sum up, genetic testing, lipid testing, and macro balancing are key:

“With all general guidelines and medical research on APOE4 and nutrition, we should keep in mind that the reaction of our metabolism to dietary changes is highly individual. Determining the right balance of macro nutrients, especially balancing MUFAs and carbohydrates for an optimal cholesterol profile requires individual experimentation and frequent retesting”

Read the full article quoted above here.

Please note that losing weight on a Paleo diet, low blood pressure, low BMI, and or being “buff”, is NOT an indicator you are non-ApoE4, or that your vascular system is healthy. FYI -“Grass fed” is not a blanket insurance policy for clean arteries.

I am thrilled if Paleo works for you non-4’s, but please have your lipid profile done anyway. Sometimes even good genes cannot combat a bad lipid profile.

Confusion now cleared, we low-fatters can get down to the serious business of modulating our intake of fats and cholesterol.

No diet is “one-size-fits-all”. Food can be medicine or it can hasten an untimely demise. Choose your menu carefully: do your research – read, read, read, employ balance, stay away from fad diets, make healthy eating choices a lifestyle you can live with while on this earth. Do 20 minutes of exercise at least 3 days a week, more is better.

All the best for a Happy New Year, my peeps! Make 2017 your healthiest year ever!

Epicuriously yours,

Melinda

The Fat Free Gourmet

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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!

Ingredients:

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.

Enjoy!

*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,

Melinda

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

Enjoy!

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,
Melinda

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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