April 2nd 2012 Posted at MM 101: Beginner
The website answering your questions about nutrition, fitness, and wellness, by Barbara E. Yudell, Ph.D.
April 2nd 2012 Posted at MM 101: Beginner
March 5th 2012 Posted at MM 300: Intermediate
If you are thinking of purchasing an activity tracker, there are many types to consider, so here is a chart I made with a few ideas to get started. Sorry it’s blurry, but just click on it to make it bigger and clearer to view!
Here are a few examples of the graphs that FitBit has displayed for me:
Activity Record records a single workout:
Here are the calories burned throughout the day:
And here is a sleep chart…my sleep is usually pretty good…
February 8th 2012 Posted at MM 101: Beginner
This is my first non-video post! I did not film this recipe because it was just an experiment … but an experiment that turned out great! I had set out to make a tasty and cute Valentine’s Day treat for one of my group fitness classes. Lately Pinterest has been telling me that red velvet cheesecake brownies look scrumptious, so that was one idea. However, I’m not a big fan of all the food coloring added to red velvet…I mean, it’s probably safe and all, but it’s such a tease…like what’s the “red” flavor? So I made Strawberry Cheesecake Brownies with a little flare of red velvet in that I mixed some of the strawberry jam into the brownie layer. And I made it healthy.
How do I make up healthy recipes? I usually start with standard classic recipes and then make some easy modifications that involve cutting the sugar and fat in roughly in half. So I used my Pillsbury cookbook and found standard brownies and standard cheesecake. Then I cut the fat and sugar drastically and added in that strawberry jam. Adding some of the jam to the brownie layer not only makes it reddish, but also helps keep it moist, like adding applesauce or pureed prunes (have you ever made prune brownies???). I also decided to try it with whole wheat flour, in hopes that the chocolate flavor would cover up the whole wheat flavor. It did not. But no worries, still delicious!
Now here is my recipe!
BROWNIE (bottom) layer:
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 Tablespoon butter, margarine, or vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
4 servings egg whites (3/4 cup)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 jar strawberry jam (4-6 oz)
Optional: 2 T cocoa powder (I added since I ended up not liking the pinkish-brown color as much as I thought I would)
CHEESECAKE (top) layer:
2 blocks Neufchatel reduced fat cream cheese (8 oz each), softened to room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 servings egg whites (3/8 cup)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
SWIRL (very top) layer:
Other half of the jar of strawberry jam
1. Line a 9×13″ pan with foil and spray it with non-stick cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Mix up the brownie layer:
- Melt the chocolate in a large microwave safe bowl by microwaving 1-2 minutes.
- Add butter and sugar and mix well. Microwave again if necessary so it’s quite fluid.
- Wisk in egg whites, then remaining brownie ingredients.
- Pour it in the pan
3. Mix up the cheesecake layer:
- Mix cream cheese and sugar until smooth (best with an electric mixer)
- Add egg whites slowly, then salt and vanilla. Do not over-whip. Mine was not perfectly smooth, but that’s fine for this recipe.
- Pour it in the pan over the brownie layer.
4. Drop spoonfuls of jam on top (use up the rest of the jar)
- Tip: I forgot to do this, but it works better if you stir up the jam thoroughly first, so it’s not as chunky and will swirl better. Also the spoonfuls I used were a bit too big (like Tablespoons). Teaspoon-size would be better.
5. Use a knife to swirl! Don’t be afraid to cut down into the brownie layer as well. I just made a bunch of lines vertically and then horizontally, and then again and again until it looked OK. Don’t swirl too much or else it will just looks like a mess.
6. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes. When I make a reduced fat recipe, I like to under-bake it so it stays very moist (that’s one reason I use pasteurized egg whites…no fear of under-cooked eggs), but that’s up to you. So I baked about 22 minutes.
7. Cool, then refrigerate or freeze before cutting. I did 30 minutes in the freezer. Then I cut into TINY squares for my class to taste! I put them in mini cupcake liners.
8. That’s it! Refrigerate or freeze from there. Mine are in the freezer waiting for Valentine’s Day!
I did not calculate nutrition facts yet, but I have this to say…I ate QUITE A FEW of these because they were SO GOOD I couldn’t believe it (needed to taste over and over to make sure, right?). BUT I DID NOT EXPERIENCE ANY SUGAR RUSH! Now I’ve experienced my fair share of baking disasters…not that my baking turns out bad, but that I have a disaster in over-eating what I make and feeling the sugar run through my blood (and deposit as fat!). This time, disaster averted. It’s my own “glycemic index” test and I can personally say that the level of sugar in these was moderate enough to taste good but not cause that terrible sugar-rush and sugar-crash feeling. Now I can feed these to my morning group fitness participants and not feel any guilt about that! Yeah, cheesecake brownies for breakfast!
Would love to hear your feedback, either here or on Facebook! Thanks for reading!
February 4th 2012 Posted at MM 101: Beginner
Note before making! I adjusted this recipe to use the bare minimum amount of oil for it to stick together. If you get frustrated with the crumbliness, you can add a bit of water, or more oil (originally it was 2 sticks of butter). Plan ahead – the bars need time to settle. Refrigerate or freeze at least 8 hours before cutting, otherwise they’ll just fall apart. However, they are also delicious fresh from the oven as more of a blueberry crumble.
1. Prepare a 9×13 inch pan by lining with foil and spraying with non-stick spray. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
2. Mix the following in a large bowl. An electric mixer on low works for this and the next step.
- 1 stick butter or non-hydrogenated margarine, softened (or amazing with ½ c coconut oil!)
- ½ c brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla
- 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
3. Add the following and mix until crumbly. It will be very dry, and that’s OK.
- 1.5 c ground flaxseed
- 3 c whole wheat flour
- 1 c sweetened flaked coconut (can also use unsweetened)
4. Press about ¾ of mixture very firmly into bottom of pan. Tip: place wax paper or plastic wrap on top, then press down HARD all around. Bake 20 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, prepare filling. Combine:
- 1 bag frozen blueberries (about 16 oz). Thawing is unnecessary. Fresh blueberries work too.
- 1 jar blueberry jam (about 10 oz). I used Smucker’s “Simply Fruit” variety.
6. Spread filling onto baked crust. Then sprinkle remaining crust mixture on top. Spread evenly and press down (not as hard as before). Top with additional brown sugar, or sanding sugar if desired (try 2 packets of raw sugar).
7. Bake an additional 20 minutes, until lightly browned and firm. Optional: broil lightly but watch it so it doesn’t burn!
8. Allow to cool, then cover & refrigerate or freeze overnight before cutting. Remove from pan by lifting foil out and placing on cutting board. Cut into bars (small size = 24 bars). You can keep these frozen for months, or refrigerated no more than 2 days before they get too mushy.
Notes on Flaxseed:
- Flax is a super-food because it’s an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber!
- Where do you buy it? Well you can go to a special health foods store, but these days you can get it at regular grocery stores as well. Look in the baking or cereal aisles, or ask an employee. For example, at Walmart they have it in the baking aisle near the flour, and the price is really cheap.
- Be sure to buy ground flaxseed or flax meal. It must be ground up first in order to digest it properly and absorb the nutrients. If you buy whole flaxseeds by mistake, you can grind them with a coffee grinder.
- Use leftover flax to try out some other healthy recipes, or use as a topping on yogurt or cereal.