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Healthy Bites with Holly: Tofu Smoothies and GIVEAWAY WINNER!

25 Mar

Back in January, when I first started with Weight Watchers, I sat through the introductory talk where they tried to explain to me the importance of what they call “power foods.” Power Foods are “high energy density” foods that have high nutrient content and help satisfy your hunger with relatively lower calories compared to how full you feel after you eat them. In this program, power foods are things like whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean protein items. I’ll be honest here and share that I didn’t fully pay attention early on, and had a vague image in my mind of the 1990’s Power Rangers (Go, Go, Power Rangers) and promptly ignored their guidance. Instead, I only focused on staying within my points (I get 40) and kept eating the same kinds of foods that I always ate.

A few weeks later, when my weight loss was less than a half a pound a week for several weigh-ins, I was pretty upset. I was going to the meetings, I was staying within my points, and I was hungry most of the time, which didn’t feel good. But only 0.2 pounds lost? What in the heck was I doing wrong? I had to sort this all out and luckily, after the meeting, the leader was willing to review my food diary for that week. “Hmmm..low cal bread…100 calorie crackers…pasta…white rice…sugar free cookies…” she read out loud as she reviewed my food choices. “You really like those carbs.” I must have had a blank look on my face, so she explained that it was more than just how many points (calories) you eat, that WHAT you eat is just as important. “You need to eat more protein and fiber, and less carbohydrates and fat.” She then patiently reminded me about the power food list and pointed out the low fat protein choices.

Eating more protein has been challenging to me. My natural food choices and likes and dislikes did not include many protein choices. Here are the foods I added easily to my daily diet:

  • Hard boiled Eggs
  • Greek Yogurt (much higher in protein than regular yogurt btw)
  • Low fat cheese (Mozzarella is my personal choice)
  • Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breasts
  • Tuna

Another good source of low fat protein is Tofu. Yuck! I could never understand how anyone ate tofu. It was like rubber to me. I struggled with the consistency, and the lack of flavor. And I didn’t know what do with it, how to cook with it and so I avoided it. But now that I needed to focus on adding more protein, I decided to give it a try. After a little research, I discovered that there are several types of tofu: Silken, Tub or Brick. Tub tofu comes in different thickness or consistencies and is packed in water. Brick tofu is very very firm and can be sliced, crumbled and can even be grilled. But so far, silken tofu is my favorite. It is soft, and a little “runny”. It looks like very very thick sour cream. It has very little flavor, and when mixed with fruit, it makes an awesome smoothie. And for it’s calorie count, it packs a lot of protein in your diet in a good way.

When first making my new protein smoothies, I made a few mistakes along the way. After seeing once of those blender commercials where they show how the high powered blender can make anything taste good, I decided to blend up the following:

  • Flash frozen, no sugar added cherries
  • 6 ounces of Silken Tofu
  • Splash of Soy Milk
  • Two handfuls of raw spinach leaves (yes– that’s right–raw spinach!

I have no idea what I was thinking. It was green, it was thick and it tasted like cow feed. UGGHH! Do not make that smoothie.

My next attempt was much, much better:

  • 1 cup of flash frozen fruit (your choice) without added sugar
  • 6 ounces Silken Tofu
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1/2 water (as needed to help blender chop ice)
  • Three packets of artificial sweetener (I prefer Truvia)

Blend this up and you will not be sorry. I really like this in the evening, after dinner, for my dessert. It fills my tummy, and keeps me away from snacking on other less healthy things. And the fresh fruit flavors cannot be beat.

The best news is that once I finally followed the nutritional advice and upped my protein, I had much better weight loss results at the scale. And I am very rarely feeling those hunger pangs I experienced with my high carbohydrate diet. Give tofu a try and blend yourself thin!

Nutritional Information (with flash frozen no sugar added cherries): Calories: 141 Fat: 6g cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 2mg Total Carb: 21g Dietary Fiber: 2g Protein: 8g

Holly is the mother of three grown daughters, and has recently embarked on her own journey of weight loss and healthy living. Convinced that the key to her success is smart, but manageable, eating choices, she is now a regular columnist for The Frugal Flambe- you can catch her posts every Friday right here! Join her every week as she shares her triumphs and successes, and maybe a couple of stumbles along the way. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be horrible- Holly can do it, and so can you.

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Now, I know you’ve all been clinging to the edge of your seats for this one: the Sweet Mother Nature Giveaway Winner!!!

According to the Randomizer, our winner is: Amanda!!!!

Congratulations to you, Amanda, and a special thanks to all who participated.

To the winner: expect an email from thefrugalflambe(at)gmail(dot)com within 24 hours- it’ll include the contact info of Sweet Mother Nature, and you can send your address directly to them to get your FREE bag of dried apples! Yummy!

Product Review: Sweet Mother Nature & GIVEAWAY!

22 Mar
I am a snack-aholic.
My kid is a snack-aholic.
And the hubbster? You guessed it. Snack-aholic.
With all the snacking we want to do, especially late at night we’ve had to branch out of our usual chips with sour cream mixed with salsa regimen. (Try it, it’s great. Or don’t try it. It’s addictive.) However, with me being pregnant, the kiddo being very persistent, and the hubbster being a grade-A enabler, you can imagine how difficult it has been to try and stay away from snacks altogether. And so I went looking for healthy alternatives. But here’s the thing, guys. The alternative had to not taste like an alternative. It needed to taste like a treat, but without the guilt of a treat.
And let me tell you, I struck GOLD.
Sweet Mother Nature, a store I found on Etsy.com, makes amazing snacks that will no doubt satisfy the inner-snack-aholic in you, just like it did for me. So I dropped Matt and Sheryl (owners) a line, and talked them into letting me review their awesome snacks on my new blog. (They were brave- the blog was three days old at the time.) Here’s the interview:


The Frugal Flambe (TFF): First off, let me just say, I love the idea of having healthy snacks on hand. And my kid loves your snacks!
Sweet Mother Nature (SMN): The first thing I have to say about the snacks from Sweet Mother Nature is – YES – KIDS DO LOVE IT!!!  Also a very smart choice for dieters. These are snacks that everyone can appreciate. Dehydrated goodies are perfect for snacking and a great replacement for candy and/or sugary, so-called, “gummy fruits”.

TFF: Well that certainly takes a weight off my mind when I’m feeding the kidlet. But hey, you say your stuff is healthy- how healthy?

SMN: They remain healthy because they retain their natural goodness including all the anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber. There are NO preservatives and NO sugar added. One more benefit is that dehydrated goods need NO refrigeration and last for months in your cupboard. Everything is made in a commercial grade dehydrator in clean, country home. Definitely better than CANDY – it’s Sweet Mother Nature.

TFF: How did you come up with the idea to start making these treats?

SMN: Snackers at heart, Matt and I are always on the look out for healthy treat alternatives. We wanted nutritious, low calorie snacking foods, but had trouble finding anything we liked, without added sugars and chemicals. Health food stores carry and offer healthy foods, but we find the prices did not always meet our financial budget. Living in the Finger Lakes area of New York State, we have a wealth of locally grown fruits and wanted to enjoy them year-round.

TFF: I can relate to the snacker part- where did the idea to dehydrate the fruit come from?

SMN: Well, we needed a way to make our fresh produce last throughout the winter months. Since we are very conscious about our electrical bill, we didn’t want to have to run a chest freezer all year. We also found that frozen produce gets mushy and some just can’t be frozen successfully – thus the dehydrating began!  You would not believe the combinations we come up with <lol>. Pineapple/Orange, Pear/Blueberry, Orange/Cranberry, Banana/Mango/Coconut – OMG the possibilities are endless.

TFF: So why not just keep the goodies for yourself? How did you end up selling these out of your home?

SMN: We had such a positive response from family and friends that we thought we would try selling at our local craft / vendor shows and online commerce sites. [listed below]

TFF: And have you been successful?

SMN: YES! We were recently approached by our first investor! Here’s an article about all the excitement:http://www.ventureancap.com/seeds-funded/sweetmothernature-com/#more-10 AND- You may be happy to know that we take special orders – let your imagination FLY!!


After our interview, Matt and Sheryl actually sent me samples of their delicious stuff- here’s what I thought:

  • Dried Bananas- Not crunchy like I expected, by chewy and sweet- like candy.
  • Dried Apples- Awesome- with a little dusting of cinnamon, the tartness of the apples was highlighted and tasted like heaven.
  • Pineapple Leather: Nature’s fruit roll ups, I kid you not. This was by FAR our favorite part of the whole testing experience. Tart, a little bit of sweetness, and chewy enough to satisfy my snacking urge.
  • Strawberry Leather: The kiddo dug this one- he literally ate the whole piece. Tastes just like strawberries in the summertime.
  • Dried Cherries- SO MUCH BETTER than the ones you buy at the store- tart and sweet at the same time, these were perfect.
  • Dried Papaya- Our least favorite of the bunch, but still great. It tasted like I took a bite right out a fresh papaya- you can’t ask for better than that!

And you guys- the best is yet to come! Sweet Mother Nature was so stoked about being featured at The Frugal Flambe, they agreed to do a giveaway! That’s right, FREE goodies for you and your family. Just leave a comment below, and on Friday, March 25, a random commenter will be chosen to receive this sweet prize- Honey Cinnamon Dried Apples (they literally melt in your mouth).

Like what you see? Shop to your hungry heart’s content at the Sweet Mother Nature’s Etsy Store.http://www.etsy.com/shop/healthytreat

http://www.sweetmothernature.com

http://www.artfire.com/users/sweetmothernature

Questions? Direct them to healthytreat@live.com

A very special thank-you to Matt, Sheryl, and the rest of the Sweet Mother Nature Crew!

UPDATE:~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now, I know you’ve all been clinging to the edge of your seats for this one: the Sweet Mother Nature Giveaway Winner!!!

According to the Randomizer, our winner is: Amanda!!!!

Congratulations to you, Amanda, and a special thanks to all who participated.

To the winner: expect an email from thefrugalflambe(at)gmail(dot)com within 24 hours- it’ll include the contact info of Sweet Mother Nature, and you can send your address directly to them to get your FREE bag of dried apples! Yummy!

 

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