Saturday, December 17, 2011

BIGGEST LOSER: Finale Was No Surprise

   The stage was full of testosterone at "The Biggest Loser" finale, as three super-competitive males weighed in for the $250,000 prize.  John, of course won; seeing that determined glint in his eye made me think he would have starved himself for a month just in order to win. But weirdly, as he accepted congratulations, he didn't have that "overjoyed winner" look. In fact, when he hugged people, he wasn't even smiling.
   I guess I've watched too many Miss America pageants where the teary-eyed winner looks so surprised and thrilled, so I expected he would seem less subdued. Maybe the "win" just hadn't yet sunk in for John. But I've often heard that you should "enjoy the journey" for whatever goal you set, or just for life in general. I don't know if John enjoyed the journey.  He was so focused on winning that he didn't seem to bond much with his team. I'm pretty sure that if he hadn't worked so hard to keep himself above the yellow line, he would have been voted off. It reminded me of  the ultra-competitive Rulon Gardner in Season 11, who said "I'm not here to make relationships."
  During one of the last episodes, trainer Bob Harper made the comment that John was so focused on winning that he would end up gaining back the weight after the competition is over. But I don't think he will. It sounds like he had something to prove, and he proved it.
  Now that Antone Davis was let go from his job as a manager at Chili's, I'm sure he could have used that $250,000 prize money. (Rest assured, folks, by the time the IRS and the state of California take their share, it's considerably less.) According to, Chili's wanted Antone to come back to work as soon as he came home from the ranch, and he apparently wanted to stay on leave so that he could have time to work out for the show. So he was let go. Bad PR move for Chili's.  I'd like to see Antone in a job where he can inspire former NFL players in some way.
   Ramon and Jessica are beginning a new life and new jobs as trainers at The Biggest Loser Resort.
  Congrats to Jennifer Rumple, the $100,000 at-home winner. Like John, she was another member of the black team who didn't seem to bond well, except with trainer Bob Harper.  He win was especially inspiring because while at the ranch, she developed a stress fracture in her knee and was on crutches. She couldn't participate in some of those grueling workouts, but maybe it's better to let your body heal instead of pushing too hard. She ended up losing 145 pounds, or 43.94 percent of her total body weight. Pretty amazing
  And speaking of trainers, it sounds like Dolvett will be back for the upcoming season. confirmed awhile ago that Anna won't be back.  Some said she didn't seem sympathetic to the contestants, but Jillian wasn't that sympathetic a lot of the time, either.  She just seemed to lack passion for the job. In fairness, she was dealt an unfair hand by getting all of the oldest contestants.  For all they say about "age is just a number," older bodies can't bounce back from tough workouts the way a younger body can. I hope someone at NBC realizes that the "Battle of the Ages" was just a bad idea.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

One Bite At A Time: Bite Size Cafe & Catering

Ray and Londa Davis, owners of Bite Size Cafe & Catering.

My column on Bite Size Cafe & Catering ran in today's Deseret News.

Ray and Londa Davis have been talking about opening some type of restaurant for many years, and they finally did it.  It's a family affair, with their teen-age daughters helping out at the cafe at 1050 Shepard Lane in Farmington (in the strip mall where Burt Brothers, Javier's are now; and where Kmart and Bukoo's used to be). 

When they came up with the name for their new business, they didn't realize how well the term "Bite Size" dovetailed with the times. WIth people downsizing both their budgets and their appetites, party foods are trending to mini portions with big flavor, such as  "small plates," "cake bites," or 
Tortellini Brochettes are easy to make at home. 
"shooters," where the 
appetizer or dessert is served in shot glass size cups.
If you're doing your own party, Ray shared his secrets for tortellini brochettes, an easy-to-make appetizer that is full of flavor and impressive as well. Buy refrigerated cheese-filled tortellini, boil them to just before the “al dente” stage so that they hold their shape and are easy to work with. Roll up a  slice of  meat (Ray likes to use Capicola ham or prosciutto, but you could also use turkey or even pepperoni)  to a ¾-inch square and skewer it between two of the tortellinis.  Drizzle the brochettes with pesto that’s been thinned with water or oil, and chill until time to serve.

For more information, check the Bite Size website,

Cavin and Londa Davis setting out triple-chocolate cake bites.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

BIGGEST LOSER: Deni Hill At Tonight's Finale

Deni Hill at Season 11 finale.
If you're watching "The Biggest Loser" finale tonight, look for Deni Hill, the "Biggest Loser" contestant who won the $100,000 at-home prize for Season 11. 

Deni's husband, Dell, told me she will be there, sporting a new shorter haircut, when Season 12 of the NBC's "The Biggest Loser"  reality series wraps up tonight.

Three finalists are weighing in for the $250,000 prize: John Rhode, Antone Davis and Ramon Medeiros.  

The $100,000 prize is anyone's guess, because the contestants who  garner so much attention and drama while at "the ranch"  aren't necessarily the ones who stick to their guns at home. Deni Hill of Bountiful, Utah, flew under the radar until the night of the finale, when she edged out Justin Pope, also of Utah, for the $100,000 grand prize. She went from 256 pounds at the beginning of the competition, to 131 at the season finale. That's 125 pounds, or  48.83 percent of her body weight. She was only slightly bested by the $250,000 grand-prize winner Olivia Ward, who who went from 261 pounds to 132, for a 49.2 percent weight loss. 

I wonder if tonight's winners will be able to hit those kinds of numbers?

As I've already mentioned in previous posts, Deni was in my Body Jam and Zumba classes while she was working her way toward the prize money. She even predicted she would be the winner in a story I did for the Deseret News at  It was so exciting to watch someone you actually know walk off a winner. 
Last summer we walked together in the Deseret News 5K.  She is now involved with the Sponsor Me Slim program, and you can read more about Deni, her website and program at

Monday, December 12, 2011

BIGGEST LOSER: Chef Devin Alexander's Healthy Holiday Tips

Chef Devin Alexander, author of the new "Biggest Loser Quick & Easy Cookbook," offers the following tips to celebrate without busting your calorie budget: 

1.         Eat First
So often, people eat lunch and then don’t eat again until they arrive at an evening party absolutely starved! Before going to a holiday party, be sure to eat a nutritious 200-300 calorie snack or meal like my Asian Crab Salad-Topped Brown Rice Crisps from The Biggest Loser Quick & Easy Cookbook (pictured above, recipe available upon request)! Though this sounds counter-intuitive, eating a small snack before a holiday party will help you from grabbing the first thing you see simply because you’re starved. Three to five of those tiny party faves can contain an entire meals worth of calories, and let’s face it, you are still left wanting or more! 
2.         Get Fruit-Full
Add frozen fruit like grapes or blueberries to holiday cocktails to enjoy a drink without having too much alcohol and so many empty sugars. I love filling champagne flutes with frozen grapes then pouring in the champagne. You still get to be social and enjoy a little bubbly, but you won’t overload on the calories even if you opt for a second drink.
3.         Go Greek
When making holiday dips, swap fat free greek yogurt in place of sour cream!  Unlike fat free sour cream, fat free greek yogurt is thick and rich and is typically preservative and chemical free. By making the swap, you’ll save 22 calories, 3 g fat and 2 g saturated fat per tablespoon.
4.         Crust-Dos
When you make your holiday pie crust, use 100% all-fruit spread and crunchy high-fiber cereal instead of butter and graham crackers for a delicious alternative with fewer calories and less suger. 
5.         Pork It Up
When making your holiday stuffing, add plenty of extra lean sausage to increase your protein and cut back on the empty carbohydrates that tend to be abound during the holidays. 
6.         Dough a Deer (or a Candy Cane)
Use whole-wheat pizza dough to make danishes, pastries and festive soft pretzels in holiday shapes that would otherwise use buttery doughs. You’ll quickly be hooked on my Chocolate Glazed Soft Pretzel Bites (recipe available upon request)!
7.         Better Bling
Instead of adding red or green sugar or sugar-based sprinkles to your holiday desserts, use edible glitter. Since edible glitter is typically made from gelatin, you’ll get all the holiday bling and color with virtually no fat, calories or added sugars found in traditional sprinkles. 
8.         Beef Up
Instead of the traditional prime rib, make a filet mignon roast the centerpiece of your holiday dinner or special occasion. You’ll save 25 calories and 11.5 g of fat per 4 ounce serving.
9.         Super Scoping
When you arrive at a party, scope out all of the food before you start eating. Choose to fill up on high protein items like chicken skewers and shrimp cocktail or veggies (but easy on the dip!) and then leave room for a few of your favorite indulgences. 
10.         Dish It Out
Consider taking a healthy decadent dish to your next holiday party! It will give you an alternative if you happen to show up at a “deep fried party.”  Plus, you’ll increase your chances of being invited back next year because hosts love when guests come bearing gifts!
11.         Careful Not To Crack-er
When given the choice, skip the crackers and opt for bread. Many crackers have butter baked in them, while most bread does not. And let’s face it, the cheeses, meats and dips are center stage, so enjoy those in moderation without adding additional fat.
12.         Cocoa-Loco!
If you’re a chocoholic like me, embrace it with cocoa powder this holiday season! Cocoa powder has only 10 calories per tablespoon and provides 2 grams of fiber. Add it to a protein smoothie, yogurt or use as the base of your hot chocolate. You’ll satisfy your chocolate craving before you find yourself dunking your head in the chocolate fountain or lurking around the fudge!  

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


You may remember the movie, "Gorillas in the Mist." Well, now there's a guerilla restaurant called Mist.

A "guerilla" restaurant is a trendy new breed of high-end eateries that exist for only a few weeks in a non-traditional location.

Chef Gavin Baker, former Sous Chef of  London's The Fat Duck, the world's 2005 top rated restaurant, will open Mist:SaltLake, a guerilla restaurant in Salt Lake City, during the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, January 19-February 19, 2012.

Located at 307 East 300 South, at tropical plant store Paradise Palm, Mist:SaltLake will offer 15 courses of Michelin-caliber cuisine for $150 (and an 18 percent gratuity added at the time of purchase). Seats are limited to 36 per night and the restaurant will operate four to five nights a week. Due to the limited number of seats available and the unique dining experience, tickets must be purchased in advance at

For diners interested in bringing wine, there is no corkage fee. A vegetarian option is available with 48 hours notice.

Chef Gavin Baker has over 15 years of notable culinary experience, including positions with The Fat Duck (London, England), La Cote Basque and Oceana (New York, New York), Chi (Los Angeles, California), and Wahso and Talisker (Park City, Utah).  His culinary vision is translated to  the plate in small amuses like the Crispy Pork Lollipop with Nitro "Dipping Dots" and edible landscapes such as the "Sunrise From My Plane Window."

Upon closing in Salt Lake City, Mist will open in San Francisco, California, in Summer 2012, and will to continue on to select cities nationally and internationally for four weeks at a time.

BIGGEST LOSER: Final Three -- John, Antone or Ramon?

Was anyone surprised that John Rhode and Antone Davis made it to the Final Three of the "The Biggest Loser" Season 12 finale? I had both of them pegged from the beginning because of their  determination and competitive drive.

The drawback for John was his lack of friendships with the rest of the players. Had he not worked soooo hard to keep himself above the yellow line, he would have been voted off a long time ago. But in Tuesday's episode where the contestants were home, I thought it was weird that everyone made a big deal about John's wife doing his laundry and cooking his meals so that he could have more time to work out.  I've been doing my husband's laundry and cooking his meals for 28 years now.  Is there something I'm missing here?

Both John and Antone showed they could be ruthless, which unfortunately is a necessity in these reality series, no matter how "nice" everyone seems.  Antone criticized John when he gave Sunny Sinclair a one-pound penalty and then voted to eliminate her from the show, but in a previous episode Antone voted to eliminate his own ROOMMATE, Joe Mitchell. Joe was stunned; he didn't realize that as a former NFL player, Antone knows all about blindsiding. I was a big Antone fan up until then.

Which brings us to Ramon Medeiros, who got there by winning the marathon. There is no online fan voting  for a finalist this time.  Ramon was already eliminated, but the new rule that the marathon winner would automatically be a finalist saved him. Otherwise, Ramon's good friend Vinny would have been in the final three. 

I thought after winning the marathon, Ramon would still have to face a weigh-in with the other final four players, but he didn't.  Fair or not, I've always liked Ramon's positive attitude. He and Jessica are a cute couple, and I'll bet she loves his new haircut and those dimples. I think both of them will make great trainers at their new jobs at The Biggest Loser Resort. Former contestant Sam Poueu was also working as a trainer for The Biggest Loser Resort, before he was seriously hurt after falling from a four-story building in San Francisco in September. Word is that Sam is making an almost miraculous recovery, but he has lots of rehabilitation ahead of him.  

Who do you think will win? I think either John or Antone will win, and both of them probably deserve it because they've pushed so hard. Who do I wish would win? Ramon. For the at-home prize, I'd like to see Patrick win it.  He was pretty selfless about sacrificing himself and getting sent home early on. As for the women, Courtney seems to be in great shape so she's a likely contender.  

As I've mentioned before,  I still don't like the "Battle of the Ages" theme.  Dividing teams into age groups gave the older folks a major handicap. Older bodies simply can't take as much wear and tear with tough workouts. During the "Where Are They Now?" special, trainer Bob Harper admitted that older people have to work harder to lose weight.  Not only that; the older team had a harder time with the physical challenges, and thus couldn't win any advantages that might have saved them from elimination. But to their credit, the oldsters persevered. All of the older team but Bonnie (who was scheduled for knee surgery) finished the marathon. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

BIGGEST LOSER: Ramon and Jessica Hired As Trainers at Biggest Loser Resort

The Biggest Loser Resort has hired Season 12 contestants Ramon Medeiros and Jessica Limpert as trainers. Does that offer any clues as to whether or not  either of them will end up winning "The Biggest Loser" title at the season finale?  

Ramon and Jessica were teammates on the weight-loss reality series, and struck up a friendship that led to romantic picnics and strolls. Although both were eventually voted off the show, they still had a chance at the title and the $250,000 prize. All the contestants in Season 12 will compete in a marathon, with the winner earning a spot in the "Final Four" at the finale. 
A Facebook post from The Biggest Loser Resort announced that Ramon and Jessica will start work the second week in January. They will first undergo training at the Fitness Ridge location in Ivins, Utah.  I toured the Ivins  resort in 2010, and it's a dream facility for people who want to lose weight. As co-owner Michelle Kelsch told me, "It gives people an experience similar to the show without the cameras and drama and, of course, without the $250,000 prize."

Unlike TV contestants who compete at the Biggest Loser "ranch " for free, guests at Fitness Ridge pay around $1,500 to $2,200 per week, depending on their accommodations and length of stay. While it sounds steep, the price tag is relative compared with the $7,000 or so weekly fee for ritzy destination spas such as The Golden Door and Canyon Ranch. 

The resort's Facebook post adds, "Ramon and Jessica will join forces with former 'Biggest Loser' contestants turned Biggest Loser Resort trainers Sam Poueu and Sione Fa."  
However, many fans are aware that Sam Poueu is curently undergoing rehabilitation therapy. Last September Sam fell from a four-story building and was critically injured. Facebook posts from his friends and family indicate that his recovery has been miraculous, although he still has a long way to go. The comment from the resort implies that the company still considers him an employee — a positive sign. 
Ramon, age 27, started out of the show at 355 pounds. Jessica, 26, weighed in at 254 pounds. 

The blog post adds, "As you can gather from their bios and their hard work, dedication and transformations on "The Biggest Loser," they will be a great asset to our team. We are very excited to have them!"