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Archive for Low Calorie

TIP OF THE DAY: Hearts Of Palm

Back in the day when we still seriously dieted, we created what we called a luxury salad—absolutely delicious and “luxurious” because the ingredients were relatively costly:

KAREN’S LUXURY SALAD RECIPE

Ingredients

  • Artichoke hearts
  • Hearts of palm
  • Pimiento (roasted red pepper)
  • Sliced red onion
  • Black olives
  • White wine-olive oil vinaigrette
  • Optional: frisée, radicchio or other salad greens
  •  
    Preparation

    Just combine and serve!

     

    Hearts of palm. Photo courtesy Foodesto

     

    Whenever we’re feeling diet-minded—or simply want to detox from the rich foods we eat all day, we whip one up. If you can get to a club store, artichoke hearts and hearts of palm are more affordable.

    Hearts of palm are best chilled or at room temperature, and thus best with cold dishes. Add chopped hearts of palm to:

  • Green salads
  • Cold grain salads, such as barley, tabbouleh or quinoa salad
  • Vegetable salads
  • On skewers with water chestnuts, olives and cherry tomatoes
  •  

    Some people serve hearts of palm on a crudités platter with dip, or deep fried with dipping sauce. But that, to us, covers up the delicate flavor of the hearts of palm, which at best need only a light touch of vinaigrette.

    WHAT ARE HEARTS OF PALM

    Hearts of palm are the edible hearts of young palm trees. Palm branches are harvested and cut; the bark and leaves removed to expose the tender inner core.

    Hearts of palm have a smooth, firm consistency, a snap to the bite, and a flavor similar to artichoke; they can be used in as a substitute for artichokes in a recipe. They can be either white or pale yellow, depending on whether the palms are wild or cultivated.

    Hearts of palm have only 50 calories per cup, is a great source of dietary fiber and is a good source of protein, riboflavin, potassium and, vitamin C, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, copper and zinc. The only caveat: They can be packed in water with a high sodium content.

    WHERE DO HEARTS OF PALM COME FROM?

    Due to poaching in Brazil, Ecuador is now the largest producer and exporter of hearts of palm. Costa Rica is the largest exporter of to the U.S, and Hawaii also produces some palm hearts.

      

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: Bare Fruit Apple Chips

    An apple never tasted better. Photo by Elvira
    Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.

     

    Our favorite packaged sweet snack, Bare Fruit apple chips has expanded the line to two new “flavored” chips. The lineup now includes

  • Chili Lime Apple Chips
  • Cinnamon Apple Chips
  • Fuji Red Apple Chips
  • Granny Smith Apple Chips
  • Sea Salt Caramel Apple Chips
  •  

    They’re as satisfying as candy—in fact, much more so, since they’re a guilt-free, all fruit and just 50 calories per bag. Each bag is the equivalent of eating an apple, so you also contribute to your recommended daily fruit and fiber servings.

    Caramel Apple is perfect for Halloween; all varieties of these naturally sweet chips (no sugar added but a special baking process caramelizes the apple’s natural sugar) are great for:

  • Dieter Gifts
  • Glove compartment, desk drawer, gym bag, etc.
  • Stocking Stuffers
  •  

    Here’s our favorite packaged salty snack, which also should be on your stocking stuffer radar: HalfPops, fiber-filled half-poppped popcorn that we like even better than conventional full-popped.

      

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    RECIPE: Fruit Salad Cocktail or Mocktail

    We love this idea of a “seltzer-fruit cocktail” from Polar Seltzer: refreshing and low in calories. The Worcester, Massachusetts-based bottler makes seltzer in numerous yummy, calorie-free flavors:

  • Year-Round Flavors: Black Cherry, Blueberry, Cherry Pomegranate, Cranberry Lime, Georgia Peach, Granny Smith Apple, Lemon, Lime, Mandarin, Pomegranate, Raspberry Lime, Ruby Red Grapefruit, Strawberry, Triple Berry, Orange Vanilla, Vanilla.
  • Limited Edition Summer Flavors: Limited editions change yearly, but summer flavors have included Ginger Lemonade, Mint Mojito, Orange Mango, Piña Colada and Pineapple Passionfruit.
  • Limited Edition Holiday Flavors: What a great idea for calorie-free drinks! No wonder past flavors such as Boston Cream Pie, Butter Rum, Candy Cane, Cinnamon, Eggnog, Mint Chocolate, Pumpkin Spice and Vanilla Pear have sold out.
  •  

    The mixologists at Polar Beverages always provide cocktail and mocktail ideas for the different flavors. You can find them on the company’s website and Facebook page.

     

    Cocktail or mocktail with “fruit salad.” Photo courtesy Polar Seletzer.

     

    FRUIT SALAD COCKTAIL-MOCKTAIL RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 3 or 4 different fruits
  • Flavored seltzer to match
  • Optional: a shot of your favorite spirit or liqueur
  • Ice cubes
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREPARE fruits: wash, pat dry, slice as needed.

    2. FILL glass with ice cubes, seltzer and optional spirit.

    3. ARRANGE fruits at the top of the glass. The ice cubes serve as a base to anchor the fruit.

    4. SERVE with a straw and a cocktail pick or cocktail fork for the fruit.

     

    “Creamsicle” seltzer: Orange Vanilla seltzer
    with an orange wedge. Photo courtesy Polar
    Seltzer.

     

    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CLUB SODA &
    SELTZER

    A Glossary Of Sparkling Waters

    Any effervescent water belongs to the category of carbonated water, also called soda water: water into which carbon dioxide gas under pressure has been dissolved, causing the water to become effervescent. The carbon dioxide can be natural, as in some spring waters and mineral waters, or can be added in the bottling process. (In fact, even some naturally carbonated waters are enhanced with more carbonation at the bottling plant.)

    Carbonated Water: In the U.S., carbonated water was known as soda water until after World War II, due to the sodium salts it contained. While today we think of “soda” as a carbonated beverage, the word originally refers to a chemical salts, also called carbonate of soda (sodium carbonate, sodium hydroxide, sodium monoxide). The salts were added as flavoring and acidity regulator, to mimic the taste of a natural mineral water.

     
    After the war, terms such as sparkling water and seltzer water gained favor. Except for sparkling mineral water, all carbonated water/soda water is made from municipal water supplies (tap water). Carbonated water was invented in Leeds, England in 1767 by British chemist Joseph Priestley, who discovered how to infuse water with carbon dioxide by suspending a bowl of water above a beer vat at a local brewery. Carbonated water changed the way people drank liquor, which had been neat, providing a “mixer” to dilute the alcohol.

    Club Soda: Like the original carbonated water, club soda is enhanced with some sodium salts.

    Fizzy Water: Another term for carbonated water.

    Seltzer or Seltzer Water: Seltzer is carbonated water with no sodium salts added. The term derives from the town of Selters in central Germany, which is renowned for its mineral springs. The naturally carbonated spring water—which contains naturally dissolved salts—has been commercially bottled and shipped around the world since at least the 18th century. When seltzer is made by carbonating tap water, some salts are added for the slightest hint of flavor. And that’s the difference between seltzer and club soda: Club soda is salt-free.

    Sparkling Water: Another term for carbonated water/soda water. It can also refer to sparkling mineral water, which is pumped from underground aquifers. Note that not all sparkling mineral waters are naturally effervescent. Many are actually carbonated from still mineral water. Some are lightly carbonated by nature, but have extra carbonation added at bottling to meet consumer preferences.

    Two Cents Plain: Another word for soda water, coined during the Great Depression, when plain soda water was the cheapest drink at the soda fountain.

    MORE TYPES OF WATER

    Check out our Water Glossary for the different types of water, including the difference between mineral water and spring water.

      

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    RECIPE: Thai Iced Tea

    WHAT IS THAI ICED TEA?

    Thai iced tea, known as cha-yen (cha is the word for tea), is served in Thailand, Vietnam, elsewhere around the Pacific Rim and in Thai restaurants in the West and elsewhere around the world. It is made from strong-brewed black tea and sweetened condensed milk, which adds body and creamy mouthfeel.

    The brewed tea can be enhanced with spices, such as cardamom, clove, nutmeg, star anise and tamarind. If you like chai tea with milk and sweetener, you’ll equally like Thai iced tea.

    For visual appeal, the deep amber tea and white condensed milk are swirled together or layered. The drink can be topped off evaporated milk, coconut milk, half and half or whole milk.

    The countries where it’s most popular are known for hot.steamy summers. Thai iced tea is a welcome refreshment—and a complement to spicy food. If your neck of the woods is as hot and steamy as ours is, it’s time to try the recipe.

     

    The milky swirl of Thai iced tea is a visual treat. Photo courtesy ArborTeas.com.

     

    THAI ICED TEA RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup black tea leaves (approximately 3 ounces)
  • Optional spices: cardamom, ground tamarind, nutmeg, star anise or others (cinnamon works for us), to taste
  • 6 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 cup sugar (or equivalent noncaloric sweetener)
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup evaporated milk to top (you can substitute coconut milk, half and half or whole milk)
  • Ice
  •  

    Thai iced tea. Photo by Jeff Kramer |
    Wikimedia.

     

    Preparation

    1. STEEP the tea leaves (and any optional spices) in boiling water for 5 minutes. Strain out the tea leaves. Using an infuser (tea ball) makes this step easier.

    2. STIR in sugar while the tea is still hot, until dissolved; then stir in condensed milk.

    3. COOL to room temperature or ideally, chill in the fridge.

    4. ADD ice to tall iced tea glasses and pour in tea mixture until glasses are roughly 3/4 full. Slowly top off glasses with evaporated milk.
     
    VARIATIONS

    If you find yourself in the Pacific Rim, you can have what Americans think of as iced tea.

  • Dark Thai iced tea (cha dam yen) is simple iced tea without the milk, sweetened with sugar.
  •  

  • Lime Thai tea (cha manao) is dark Thai iced tea flavored with lime. Mint may also be added.
  •  
    If you’re looking for unsweetened iced tea in the Pacific Rim, you may be out of luck. It‘s the birthplace of sugar.

    A BRIEF HISTORY OF SUGAR

    Sugar is native to Southeast Asia, with three species seeming to have originated in two locations: Saccharum barberi in India and Saccharum edule and Saccharum officinarum in New Guinea.

    Originally, people chewed on the raw sugar cane stalks to enjoy the sweetness. Refined sugar appears around 500 B.C.E., when residents of what is now India began to make sugar syrup from the cane juice. They cooled it to make crystals that were easier to store and transport. These crystals were called khanda, which is the source of the word candy.

    Indian sailors carried sugar along various trade routes. In 326 B.C.E., Alexander the Great and his troops saw farmers on the Indian subcontinent growing sugar cane and making the crystals, which were called sharkara, pronounced as saccharum.

    The Macedonian soldiers carried “honey bearing reeds” home with them. But sugar cane remained a little known crop to most Europeans for the next thousand years, a rare and costly product that made sugar traders wealthy.

    In the 12th century, Crusaders brought sugar back to Europe from the Holy Land, where they encountered caravans carrying the “sweet salt.” Venice began to produce sugar in Lebanon to supply Europe, where honey had been the only available sweetener. By the 15th century, Venice was the chief sugar refining and distribution center in Europe.

     
    HOW MANY TYPES OF SUGAR HAVE YOU HAD?

    Check out the different types of sugar in our Sugar Glossary.

      

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    FOOD FUN: Deconstructed Crab Cake

    Save calories and carbs with a
    “deconstructed” crab cake. Photo courtesy
    Wild Mushroom Restaurant | Texas.

     

    Crab cakes are a popular item on menus nationwide. The crab is good for you, but the fat for sautéing is less so.

    You could place the crab cake(s) on a large bed of salad for a healthy offset. Or you could make these “deconstructed” crab cakes from Chef Jerrett Joslin of The Wild Mushroom Steakhouse in Weatherford, Texas.

    Chef Joslin takes the components of crab cakes and works them into an uncooked crab cake:

    DECONSTRUCTED CRAB CAKES RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • Fresh lump crab or other crab meat
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Aïoli (garlic mayonnaise) and/or chimichurri sauce for garnish; you can substitute chile, curry or other flavored mayonnaise
  • For The Salad

  • Baby arugula, cleaned
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon or lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon or lime zest
  •  

    Preparation

    1. MAKE aioli, if desired (recipe).recipe)

    2. PLACE crab meat in a bowl, chopping as necessary so that it can be easily mounded. Add fresh parsley to taste.

    3. MIX 1 tablespoon of olive oil with 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard. Use as needed to bind crab mixture so that it can be molded, using a metal mold, cookie cutter or table spoons.

    4. TOSS arugula with vinaigrette, just enough to lightly moisten.

    5. PLACE the crab cake on a plate, then top with He then arranges the ingredients on top of a bed of arugula that has been tossed with citrus vinaigrette.

    The result is a new take and presentation on the favorite dish. You can save calories by substituting a spicy vinaigrette for the aïoli.
     
    TYPES OF CRAB MEAT

    You don’t need to use the costliest jumbo lump crab meat: Use what you can afford. From most costly to least costly, they area;

  • Jumbo Lump or Lump Crab Meat
  • Lump or Backfin Lump Crab Meat
  • White Crab Meat
  • Claw Crab Meat
  •  

    The most expensive crab meat, jumbo lump, is beautiful to look at. But if it‘s getting mashed in a recipe, save you money and buy a less expensive grade. Photo courtesy Miller’s Crab.

     
    Here’s more on the different types of crab meat.

      

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    COCKTAILS: Save Calories With VitaFrute From VeeV

    Ready to drink, VitaFrute lower calorie
    cocktails reduce the sugar calories in
    cocktails. Photo courtesy VeeV Spirits.

     

    Typical mixed drinks can pack on the calories. The standard 1.5 ounce serving of 80-proof alcohol has 96 calories, which seems reasonable. But start to add mixers:

  • Cranberry juice cocktail (8 oz.): 136 calories
  • Light orange juice (8 oz.): 50 calories
  • Orange juice (6 oz.): 84 calories
  • Soft drink (cola, 7-Up, etc., 8 oz.): 100 calories, 25g sugar
  • Piña colada mix (6 ounces): 130 calories, 25g sugar
  •  
    But there are calorie-saving solutions:

     
    LOOK FOR REDUCED CALORIE READY-MADE COCKTAILS

    One easy way to control a sweet cocktail while controlling the calories is the new line of VitaFrute cocktails from VeeV Spirits, in Margarita, Organic Lemonade and Organic Cosmopolitan. The base spirit is VeeV, the world’s first spirit made from the superfruit açaí.

     
    Sweetened with low-glycemic agave nectar, cocktails are under 125 calories per serving. By comparison, a four-ounce glass of wine has 125-150 calories.

    The suggested retail price of VitaFrute is $13.99 to $14.99 per bottle. Learn more about VeeV spirit and VitaFrute cocktails at VeeVLife.com.

    Here are more tips to cut back on the calories in cocktails:

    HOW TO REDUCE THE CALORIES IN MIXED DRINKS

  • If you can, choose savory, not sweet, cocktails, such as the popular Bloody Mary and Martini.
  • Use calorie-free flavored club soda instead a soft drink mixer (lemon seltzer instead of 7-Up, for example).
  • Use club soda and bitters, or diet ginger ale, instead of ginger ale; and use the diet versions of other soda mixers (cola, lemon-lime, tonic water, etc.).
  • Use “light” or diet mixers: eight ounces of light cranberry juice have 40 calories, light lemonade has 5 calories, diet soda or diet tonic water has 0 calories.
  • Avoid premade cocktail mixes; there’s sugar hidden in everything, including spicy Bloody Mary mix.
  • Look at coffee- and tea-based cocktails such as a Chai Tea Martini or Espresso Martini; coffee and tea have zero calories.
  •  

  • Use low glycemic agave nectar or noncaloric sweeteners to sweeten cocktails.
  • Use sugar-free, calorie-free syrups from DaVinci or Torani to sweeten and flavor cocktails.
  • Try sugar-free mixers. We’ve tried Baja Bob’s Margarita and Sweet ‘n’ Sour mixes, but find that we prefer agave nectar and fresh lime juice for a Margarita, and fresh lemon juice and agave for a Whiskey Sour; .5 ounce of lemon or lime juice has just 10 calories.
  • Use fresh fruit and herb garnishes to add flavor and eye appeal.
  • Avoid creamy cocktails, whether dairy cream (Brandy Alexander, White Russian) or cream of coconut (Piña Colada). Substitute coconut water to add coconut flavor to a cocktail, or use coconut-infused vodka (see our next tip).
  •  

    VeeV, the açaí-based mother spirit of VitaFrute cocktails.

     

  • Try infused vodkas straight instead of a similarly-flavored mixed drink; UV Vodka has every flavor under the rainbow including chocolate, and Skyy Infusions’ 12 infused vodkas are a NIBBLE favorite (Pineapple vodka is our replacement of choice for the high-calorie Piña Colada). The infusions add no calories.
  • Dilute your cocktail with club soda or sparkling water (we’ve been enjoying wine spritzers since we were old enough to drink) to half and half, with a squeeze of lime juice.
  •  
    Finally, our favorite calorie-saving cocktail strategy:

  • Alternate cocktails with no- or low-calorie “mocktails”: noncaloric or low-calorie drinks, from club soda with bitters to a Virgin Mary.
  •  
    If you’ve got additional tips, use the Contact Us link to send them in!

      

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    PRODUCT: Sparkling ICE Calorie-Free Soda

    Crisp Apple Sparkling ICE, calorie-free, is a delicious substitute for sparkling cider. Photo courtesy Talking Rain Beverage Company.

     

    Sparkling ICE is a line of zero-calorie soft drinks—the company calls them flavored sparkling waters (*see the footnote below for the difference between soda and flavored sparkling waters—produced by Talking Rain Beverage Company of Preston, Washington. Located in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, the source water is from a pristine artesian spring that originates in the Cascades.

    The sweetener is sucralose, the generic form of Splenda. The line is enhanced with vitamins and antioxidants. Perhaps it’s the mountain spring water, along with natural flavors, that has created such charming tastes.

    Spakling ICE is made in Black Raspberry, Coconut Pineapple, Kiwi Strawberry, Lemonade, Lemon Lime, Orange Mango, Peach Nectarine, and Pink Grapefruit.

    But for us, the star is Crisp Apple, which has the flavor of sparkling cider. We had to check the label to be sure it really was zero calories. What a great way to enjoy the taste of a crisp apple!

    Whether you want an apple or an Appletini, spare the calories and start with a bottle of Crisp Apple Sparkling ICE.

     

    You can check the store locator on the Sparkling ICE website, or head to Amazon.com, where all the flavors are sold.

    We’d prefer a case of Crisp Apple Sparkling ICE to most of the gifts we tend to receive. Friends and relatives, please take note!

    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SODA AND FLAVORED, SWEETENED SPARKLING WATER

    Sparkling water is water that is carbonated, a process discovered in 1767 by an English chemist, Joseph Priestley. Swedish chemist Jöns Jacob Berzelius added flavors (spices, juices and wine) to carbonated water in the late 18th century. This led to the evolution of soda fountains in pharmacies.

    In the early 19th century, American pharmacists added birch bark, dandelion, fruit extracts, sarsaparilla and other flavorings to the sparkling water, which was called “soda water” because it is made by infusing with carbon dioxide gas and bicarbonate of soda (sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda) a stabilizing element.

    Soda fountains became ingrained in the popular culture—like today’s coffee bars—with many Americans frequenting the soda fountain on a daily basis (source: Wikipedia). In the 1970s, unsweetened, flavored sparkling water appeared: club soda, mineral water and seltzer. These bottled drinks are differentiated from sodas by their lack of added sweetener.

    There are different types of bubbly—fizzy-sparkling water:

  • Carbonated water is a broad term that encompasses all fizzy waters. The term is used interchangeably with sparkling water and soda water.
  • Club soda has a pinch of salt added to it. It can be sodium chloride (table salt), sodium bicarbonate or potassium bicarbonate.
  • Seltzer is totally salt-free, the sodium bicarbonate is left out. Seltzer is what you get when you carbonate water at home with a Sodastream or other device.
  • Mineral water is something completely different: It’s plain water with a sufficient level of dissolved minerals to differentiate it from spring water. See our Water Glossary for the different types of water.
  •  
    So what’s the difference between soda and flavored sparkling water? Soda (not club soda) is sweetened, flavored carbonated water; “flavored sparkling water” is sweetened flavored carbonated water; it can also be flavored and unsweetened, in which case it is also called flavored club soda.

    In sum, soda and flavored sparkling water are the the same thing.

    FIND MORE OF OUR FAVORITE SOFT DRINKS.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Lower Calorie Piña Colada

    In our youth, we used to have an annual “Tropical Winter” party on Valentine’s Day. It was for everyone who had nothing else to do, those who disliked Valentine’s Day and anyone who simply liked a good Piña Colada.

    Piña Coladas were the drink of the evening. The fare was tropical-inspired, from fruit skewers and chicken skewers to rumaki*, a broiled, bacon-wrapped chicken liver and water chestnut hors d’oeuvre that was all the rage at the time.

    Coconut water was years from appearing in American markets. If only Tropical Winter had lasted until it arrived, we’d have offered a Piña Colada Lite, substituting very-low-calorie coconut water (6 calories/ounce, or 12 calories per drink) for very-high-calorie Coco López (130 calories/ounce, or 260 calories per drink; plain coconut milk is 65 calories/ounce).

     

    Go light with coconut water instead of Coco López. Photo courtesy TasteNirvana.com.

     

    Piña Coladas are delicious, but they sure pack in the sugar and saturated fat. Here’s a “drink this, not that” tip from coconut water brand Taste Nirvana, on how to lower your Piña Colada calories while still enjoying a taste of the tropics and natural coconut flavor.

    CLASSIC PINA COLADA RECIPE

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 2 ounces Coco López Real Cream of Coconut (substitute coconut water)
  • 2 ounces pineapple juice
  • 1½ ounces rum
  • 1 cup ice
  • Optional garnish: pineapple wedge and/or maraschino cherry
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MIX ingredients in blender until smooth. Pour into a tall glass.

    2. GARNISH and serve.

    WHAT’S COCO LÓPEZ?

    Coco López is a brand of cream of coconut, invented in 1954by Ramón López Irizarry, a professor of agriculture at the University of Puerto Rico. The ingredients on the can include coconut milk, sugar, water, emulsifiers, stabilizers and thickeners (guar gum, locust bean gum, mono- and diglycerides, polysorb 60, sorbitan monostearate, Propylene glycol alginate) and preservative (citric acid).

    The creamy heart of the coconut had long been used in Caribbean desserts. But separating it from from the coconut pulp was an arduous process.

    With funds from the government, Irizarry worked on a solution. He ulimately left teaching to produce and sell his product, which was adopted not just by cooks but by bartenders.

    According to the book “La Gran Cocina Del Caribe” by José L. Díaz de Villega, the Piña Colada made its debut on August 16, 1954 at the Caribe Hilton’s Beachcomber Bar in San Juan, Puerto Rico, a watering hole for a star-studded clientele. The hotel management had requested that bartender Ramón “Monchito” Marrero create a new signature cocktail. Marrero worked for three months on the recipe.

    Piña is Spanish for pineapple, and colada means strained; the drink is usually served blended with ice. The Piña Colada has been the official beverage of Puerto Rico since 1978.

     
    *Rumaki is a mock-Polynesian hors d’oeuvre, believed to be invented by Victor Bergeron, founder of Trader Vic’s.

      

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    RECIPE: Nonfat Cucumber Yogurt Dip

    A few hours ago, we were discouraged to hear one of the anchor team members on our favorite morning show opine that Super Bowl foods “should be the foods we love to eat, not vegetables.” She was referring to the fatty, high-calorie usual suspects.

    Fortunately, another team member jumped in in support of the veggies.

    We admire people who watch what they eat, and we always have a crudités (raw vegetables) platter and a fruit platter or fruit salad as part of any party buffet. We’re also personally grateful to have something better to nibble on than cholesterol.

    The morning show discord inspired us to publish this recipe for a tasty, nontfat cucumber dip, adapted from a recipe provided by the Australian Institute Of Sport.

    TIP: Make this dip at least two hours before serving to allow the flavors to develop. It can be made a day in advance.

     

    Nonfat cucumber dip: Serve it with crudites or as a sauce. Photo courtesy Australian Institute Of Sport.

     

    CUCUMBER YOGURT DIP RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 2 seedless cucumbers
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic cloves
  • 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
  • Optional: salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional heat: chili flakes or a dash of hot sauce
  •  
    PREPARATION

    1. PEEL cucumbers and cut in half lengthways. If not a seedless variety, use a melon baller to scoop out the seeds.

    2. GRATE the flesh, and place in a bowl with dill, garlic, yogurt and mint. Stir to combine and serve chilled. Season with freshly ground black pepper and garnish with fresh dill, if desired.

    Makes about 1½ cups.

    MORE USES FOR CUCUMBER DIP

  • Dip: For pretzels, potato chips, pita chips and other snacks
  • Layered or Mezze: In a layered dip or on a mezze plate with babaganoush,hummus, tabbouleh and other ingredients (see layered dip recipe)
  • Garnish: On baked potatoes, rice and other grains, cooked vegetables
  • Sauce: On grilled or poached fish or seafood, including shrimp cocktail
  •  
    FIND MORE OF OUR FAVORITE DIP RECIPES.
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Hey Shuga! Organic Sugar Cane Syrup & Stevia Syrup

    What if there were a sweetener that was all natural, organic and delicious? Lower in calories? Better for you? And as a bonus, packaged in a fun enough way to be giftable?

    Refined sugars (such as table sugar) are stripped of nutrients; most noncaloric sweeteners are artificial. Sugar isn’t all that convenient when you’re trying to get it to dissolve in iced coffee, iced tea or lemonade.

    One solution: liquid cane sugar and liquid stevia dissolve easily and are available in natural food stores. But one family business is treating them with imagination and sass. We bought quite a few bottles for ourselves and for holiday gifts.

    The Hey Shuga! line of all natural, organic liquid sweeteners dissolve instantly in cold beverages and cocktails, and are equally delicious in hot beverages, as topping for cereal and fruit, in baking and glazing.

    The two initial products are:

     

    Lil’ Shuga liquid stevia-cane sugar blend and Hey Shuga! liquid cane sugar. Photo courtesy Hey Shuga!

     

  • Hey Shuga! is a flavorful organic sugar cane syrup, 20 calories per teaspoon.
  • Lil’ Shuga! cuts calories by blending sugar with noncaloric stevia, 15 calories per teaspoon. However, since stevia makes the blend much sweeter than sugar, you use 1/3 as much: 5 calories’ worth.
  •  
    Both are alternatives to agave. corn syrup/golden syrup, honey, maple syrup, refined white sugar and conventional stevia. Lil’ Suga! has so few calories, you can use it instead of noncaloric sweeteners.

    Both have a delicious cane sugar taste, nothing artificial and are USDA organic certified, GMO free, gluten free and kosher certified by SKS.

    The line expects to expand next year to all-natural Hazelnut, Irish Cream, Maple and Vanilla flavors.

    You can purchase them on Amazon or on the HeyShuga.com website, which sells:

  • Hey Shuga! 12-ounce bottle, $7.99; case of 12, $80.000 ($6.66/bottle)
  • Lil’ Shuga! 8.5-ounce bottle, $9.99; case of 12, $94.00 ($7.83/bottle)
  •  
    There are also tall bottles, glamorous for gifting:

  • Hey Shuga! 33.8-ounce bottle, $20.00
  • Lil’ Shuga! 23.7-ounce bottle, $24.00
  •  

    Check out all the different types of sugar in our Sugar Glossary.

      

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