My favorite dessert started as something I didn’t even think I’d like. Friends presented a bowl with vanilla ice cream and strawberries and a dark, seemingly chocolate glaze poured over the top. But it didn’t smell like chocolate, and I knew the move was far too pedestrian for these foodies. They said it was a balsamic vinegar syrup. I loved balsamic — I mean, I could seriously drink the stuff! — but I wasn’t sure how that was going to go with dessert.
Well, I’m here to tell you it was like sky rockets in flight, after dinner delight all up in my mouth! It’s become my go-to dessert for dinner guests when I want something that appears super fancy but takes less than five minutes to prep and assemble.
Yes, fancy and five minutes in the same sentence!
This summer, I’ve decided to make my favorite dessert a bit more portable. You can’t really bob around in the pool with a big bowl of ice cream, but you can certainly float with a Strawberry Balsamic Drizzle Milkshake in your hand. Or at least I will. I won’t tell you how to spend your swim. (more…)
We just reported on the latest dessert trends, speculating that ice pops might be upsetting cupcakes as favorite sweet treat. But in Portland, pies are a pretty big deal. There are cream pies, fruit pies, and even savory pies, which are sort of like gourmet pot pies. And they are everywhere. At restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops, and even a handful of pie-specific eateries.
This past week—last night to be exact—I gave in to the hype and ordered a slice of banana cream pie. And it was delicious. Real pieces of banana mixed in, a buttery crust that was definitely handmade, and a thick pile of whipped cream on top. Yum.
What was the damage? 387 delicious calories.
What were 3 ways I could have burned off the extra calories? (more…)
This past week, Business Week reported on the epic rise and fall of The Cupcake. Sad, but not completely surprising: I’ve been digging all of the cupcake shops popping up in the past few years although, I’ve seen almost as many close down. And this isn’t just happening near me—cupcakes are on decline everywhere! Per the story, just a few years ago Crumbs Bake Shop, which has been in business since 2003, couldn’t make enough of their gourmet cupcakes to keep up with the orders. But the shop has shifted their focus to “specialty desserts” like the the “Crumbnut,” which is a hybrid between a cupcake and a croissant. (Largely inspired by the blockbuster “cronut,” which is a combination of a donut and a croissant, the “crumbnut” may easily be the next big thing.)
But if cupcakes are out, and the croissant-hybrids aren’t yet huge sensations, what is the next dessert fad?
By Janis Jibrin, M.S., R.D., Best Life lead nutritionist
I generally practice what I preach: My diet is high in fruits and vegetables, pretty much all my grains are whole, fish is my primary high-protein food… you get the picture. Fortunately, I like these healthy foods, so none of this is a sacrifice, but I also like some very fattening and/or unhealthy foods—and I’m not willing to give them up.
How can you have your cake and stay trim, too? Here’s how I do it. Feel free to use these tricks or tweak them so that you can come up with your own creative ways to enjoy less-than-stellar fare without packing on pounds.
Just remember one ground rule: Your diet should be nutritious and you should stick to at a calorie level that keeps you at a healthy weight. (Of course, getting regular exercise helps a lot.) Once you’ve nailed that—at least most of the time—you should be able to use my indulging tips!
- Don’t be in calorie denial. Know just how many calories are in your favorite treats, or in that extra slice of pepperoni pizza, or whatever it is you’re indulging in. (more…)
There are some foods that are better enjoyed at a restaurant. Parfaits are not one of them. They’re often way too sweet, more so than is necessary. A breakfast parfait should be light, subtly sweet, and filling. And that’s exactly what we’ve created.
Forget what you know about yogurt parfaits and follow along closely. Here, the yogurt is a garnish and homemade “ice cream” takes center stage. See, when you freeze bananas and blend them, the texture is eerily similar to ice cream. When you add a little vanilla, you’d be hard pressed to recognize the difference. (more…)
Has this been the longest winter ever? It’s starting to feel like it. Currently it’s a -21 wind chill outside and I’m starting to convince myself the sun may never come back; summer will always be a distant fond memory.
Like S’mores. That little campfire treat is one time I put my guard all the way down and say screw it! Gooey marshmallows, melty chocolate (I always splurge and use dark chocolate), and that crispy little graham cracker turn any dull summer night in to an instant memory maker. And right now, as I watch another winter storm swirl around the backyard, I’m clinging to those sweet memories of last summer to keep me warm.
Another way to keep warm? Baking, duh! All that batter beating and pre-heating turns the kitchen in to a little den of coziness. A den of coziness with cupcakes!
And not just any cupcakes, but big, fat S’more cupcakes.
And not frosted with just any frosting, but big dollops of homemade chocolate cream cheese frosting.
Winter just became manageable, folks. (more…)
Okay, I lied a bit. None of these recipes won Oscars. But, hey, all hail from right here on DietsInReview and pair perfectly for the award show.
The 86th Academy Awards air on ABC this Sunday, March 2, so you better rush to the grocery store and stockpile for the party you may or may not (but should) be having! And before you think the recipes will all be super-fattening macaroni and cheese casseroles (I mean it is gold), I am offering up some healthier alternatives for your Oscar night. After all, what would the stars do? (Hint: They would not chow down on high-cal comfort foods; at least not before.)
Let us start off right, like any good party should: with a few beverages.
A Blackberry & Basil Martini is the perfect option for the 86th Academy Awards. Fancy cocktails were prevalent in at least two of the most prominently nominated movies this year: The Wolf of Wall Street and American Hustle. Besides that, what better way to feel like you are schmoozing with the rich and famous than with a drink that looks this fabulous? (And isn’t all that bad for you!) Easy to recreate a non-alcoholic version—simply substitute the vodka with some sparkling soda and use grenadine. Yum!
Another great drink option is our Talenti Frozen Sangria, which tips a hat to the Southern representation among many of the nominated movies this year. Can’t you just imagine Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts sipping on this icy sangria to escape the 90-degree heat? I sure can. (more…)
By Team Best Life
You already know that fruit is loaded with good-for-you nutrients, including fiber, vitamins and phytochemicals, all of which can keep you healthy, so we’ll save that lecture again. Choices certainly become a bit more limited in the fall and winter (unless you want to shell out for expensive imports), but there are plenty of in-season fruits that totally satisfy your sweet tooth. Our favorite way to get our fruit fix: Have it for dessert. Fruit is the perfect base for desserts because it’s naturally sweet. So this season, grab your favorite fall or winter fruit and bake, poach, or even grill your way to five a day.
Pop some fruit in the oven for a warm, melt-in-your-mouth treat. You can make a fruit crisp or crumble, which features a crunchy, sweet topping, or a fruit slump, which boasts a moister topping that literally slumps into the fruit while it’s baking. Or top your baked fruit with a little chocolate, as in this Baked Pear with Chocolate Sauce recipe.
Simmer your fruit in liquid with a bit of sugar to create a juicy and mouthwatering dish. Want a little more flavor? Try adding some of your favorite spices, as shown in this recipe for Poached Fall Fruit: Grapes, Apples and Pears with Cinnamon, Cardamom and Anise. (more…)
By Janis Jibrin, M.S., R.D., lead nutritionist for The Best Life
How long does it take you to eat a cookie or a chocolate bar? Maybe 30 seconds? You’re left feeling like you could have about five more before you even start to feel full. While I love those treats—and do indulge in them—I alternate them with low-calorie sweets that I can savor for longer. Here are some of my favorites, ranging from 125 to 165 calories.
Biscotti dipped in tea. I just had one, in fact, and timed myself: Nearly four minutes! Dip the tip of the cookie, let it cool a little, bite, chew (chewing takes even longer if it contains nuts, as my 125-calorie chocolate hazelnut variety did), have a sip or two of tea, repeat. They’re not hard to make, as you can see from this Chocolate Dried Cranberry recipe.
Homemade strawberry shortcake. I slice a 3-inch square piece of store-bought cornbread in half lengthwise, spread each piece with strawberry jam (about a teaspoon total) and slather on 1/3 cup 0 percent Greek yogurt mixed with a teaspoon of honey. Then I top the pieces with 1/3 cup strawberries. I haven’t timed myself, but this must take at least twice as long to eat as a cookie. (more…)