Tuesday, January 31, 2012

BIGGEST LOSER: Conda Controversy

On last night's episode of "The Biggest Loser," the red team blew the perfect opportunity to get rid of the back-biting and bad feelings on the team.  But instead of voting off mouthy Conda, they voted off Nancy, a grandma who dared to be a grown-up in comparison with Conda and Kim.  Nancy called out  Conda and Kim about their constant griping about the new teammate, Adrian; so they turned on her.  And Nancy was one of the weaker players who didn't put up big numbers so she was an easy target.

Had they voted off Conda, it would have broken up the obvious Mean Girls alliance with Kim, and to some extent, Kimmy.  Kim would have to put up or shut up, or get voted off.
(For a 2/8/2012 update on Conda's latest antics, check here.)
(And for the 2/22 update, check http://chewandchat.blogspot.com/2012/02/biggest-loser-daphnes-disappointing.html)

Every week, Conda has a mad-on about someone. First it was Mike, who she griped about and bad-mouthed to get him eliminated. The next week, she accused Cassandra of cheating when Cassandra beat her in a competition. Poor sport!  Next, she disrepected trainer Dolvett, and he kicked her out of the gym to break her attitude. This week the target was newcomer Adrian. He and his sister Daphne were on the Aqua team that didn't make it on to the ranch. But, if they could lose at least 50 pounds by week four, they could come back — and they nailed it.

They had missed four weeks of the bonding process that the others have been through, but they didn't seem to realize that they wouldn't be automatically accepted by their teams. Why were Kim and Conda soooooo offended by Adrian's big personality?  So what if Adrian told them he worked out 14 hours a day? He proved during the workouts that he could keep up with the rest of the team.  They wanted to make sure he knew his place as the new kid on the block.  But nobody really considered his feelings about trying to break into the clique and getting the cold shoulder.  Everyone acted like junior high kids.  The guys let Kim and Conda disrespect Adrian when they should have stuck up for him.  Mark lectured about stopping the bad feelings, but he made it seem that Adrian was just as much at fault. And Mark confronted Adrian about not losing more during the weigh-in, which led to obvious friction. But Conda only lost two pounds as well. Why didn't they call her out on that? And why didn't they take the opportunity to send her home? Even Adrian, who bore the brunt of Conda's ill-temper all week, didn't write down her name.

Adrain is a big, strong guy who can help in challenges, and will probably put up big numbers now that his immunity is gone. He's an asset to the team.  Whiners are not.  Kim has no room to talk about anyone being brash; during week 2, she and Kimmy over-bid the amount that the red team would lose, which gave the black team a five-pound advantage and a weigh-in win.

I'm wondering if Conda is watching herself on TV and claiming that she was unfairly portrayed as the Drama Queen on the show.  In past seasons, Vicky Vilcan and Heather Hansen (of Bountiful, Utah) claimed that they were edited to look bad, and they didn't even realize it until they started watching the episodes as they aired.

It's true that things can be edited out; but you can't edit words coming out of someone's mouth. I just wish someone would put a sock in Conda's.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Mist Dinner at $150 Per Person Sold Out

Awhile back I wrote about a "guerilla" restaurant, Mist, which would be open from Jan. 19-Feb. 19, serving a 15-course dinner for $150.

I'm talking $150 per person, not per family.

There must be some adventurous eaters out there with money, because the restaurant is completely sold out for its nightly limit of 36 diners.

Perhaps it was the exclusivity of the event that lured people, or maybe there's a lot of interested in chef Gavin Baker's Michelin-caliber cuisine.

A guerilla restaurant is a temporary restaurant that opens in a non-traditional location. The restaurant was originally planned for a plant shop, but that plan was scrapped a few days before the opening and moved to the former Metropolitan restaurant.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Cookbook Giveaway: "The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten-Free"

Can a person have too many cookbooks?  Since I can count at least 300 of them sitting on my office shelves and stashed away in laundry baskets, I think I have plenty to spare.

So I am instituting a weekly cookbook giveaway. I will post a summary of the book and one of the recipes. If you comment on this blog throughout the week, you will be entered in the drawing. If you share this contest on Facebook, leave me a comment on this blog letting me know, and that will give you two entries.  And the comment has to be something pertaining to the blog, NOT an announcement of a sale on Rolex watches or some foreign website or spam.

 You don't have to comment with your full name. But you need to leave a first name, nickname or some type of identity. Keep in mind that your comment won't show up right away because it is sent to me before posting. And yes, if you find some ads on my site that you want to check out, feel free to click away. 

I'll announce the winner in this blog the following Friday.  At that point, you can e-mail me with your full name and mailing address, and I'll put the book in the mail to you.  No, I won't be putting your address into some type of mailing list or using it for any other purposes (Trust me, I'm not that organized!)

Today's featured book is "The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten-Free," by Anne Byrn (Workman Publishing, $14.95).

This is yet another follow-up to Byrn's popular "Cake Mix Doctor" books, this time for people who are gluten intolerant or sensitive to gluten.  All the recipes start out with a box of gluten-free cake mix that you "doctor" up with a variety of ingredients such as almond extract, berries, cocoa powder, grated coconut, various glazes and so on.

Recipes include Almond Cream Cheese Pound Cake, Magic Brownie Bars, Caramel Melted Ice Cream Cake, Chocolate Chip Layer Cake and Peanut Butter Brownies. Since many people who are gluten-intolerant are also sensitive to dairy, Byrne includes dairy-free versions of the recipes as well.

Having used recipes from some of Byrne's other books, I can say that the directions are wordy, but very precise.

Here's a recipe from the book:

Caramel Melted Ice Cream Cake
This bundt cake uses melted ice cream as the fat and liquid. The better quality of ice cream, the better the cake.
Vegetable oil spray, for misting the pna
1 tablespoon cinnamon sugar o rice flour for dusting the pan
1 pint Dulce de Leche ice cream, melted
1 package yellow gluten-free cake mix
3 large eggs
Caramel glaze
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350. Lightly mist a 12-cup Bundt pan with vegetable oil spray. Dust the pan with the cinnamon sugar, or rice flour. Shake out the excess.
Place the ice cream in a glass bowl. Melt the ice cream in a microwave oven set to th defrost setting, 2-3 minutes.
Place the melted ice cream, cake mix and eggs in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until the ingredients are just incorporated, 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat the batter until smooth, 1 1/2-2 minutes longer, scraping down the side of the bowl again if needed. Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan, smoothing the top with the rubber spatula, and place the pan in the oven.
Bake the cake until it is golden brown and the top springs back when lightly pressed with a finger, 38 to 42 minutes. Transfer the Bundt pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool 10 minutes. Run a long, sharp knife around the edge of the cake, shake the pan gently and invert the cake onto a wire rack to cool completely, 30 minutes longer.
Meanwhile make the Caramel Glaze.
Transfer the cake to a serving plate. Pour the glaze over the cake and let the glaze set for 15-20 minutes longer, before slicing and serving the cake.
Caramel Glaze
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons lightly packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Place the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and cream in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat and let come to a boil, stirring. Let the butter mixture boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from teh heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour the glaze over the cooled cake of your choice.

Yes, this book can be yours - just leave me a comment.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Reality series thrive on controversy, and this season's "The Biggest Loser" has found it.

The second episode, Mike was sent home after some heated confrontations with teammate Conda. Mike seemed to be a loner, and his tobacco-chewing habit didn't endear him to the rest of the team. But Conda's attack seemed way out of line, nit-picking on Mike's workouts as if she spent the whole time with a stopwatch and took notes.

It's one thing to "call out" someone  to spur that person on to do better. Conda, however, seems to be the girl who calls attention to everyone else's flaws when she  has no room to talk. (For an update on the Conda controversy, check http://chewandchat.blogspot.com/2012/02/biggest-loser-condadaphne-face-off.html)

Then last week she accused Cassandra of cheating in an exercise competition. When they had a re-do and Cassandra was the clear winner, Conda didn't really eat her words, so to speak. She delivered a Subway sandwich to Cassandra with saccharine kindness, and Cassandra responded likewise.  I think we can expect more fireworks between these two.

In last night's episode, trainer Dolvett had enough of Conda's snotty attitude, and kicked her out of the gym. A humbled Conda apologized and ended up with a 10-pound weight loss.
But are what we seeing a true picture of Conda? In an exit interview, teammate Lauren was quoted as saying that people were getting a false impression; that although Conda could be blunt and speak her mind, she was an "awesome person."  That's a pretty nice thing for Lauren to say, considering she was voted off when it seemed apparent that Conda should have been the one to oust.

In the past, contestants have complained that they were unfairly villified with selective editing. It's true that you can edit OUT certain things, but you can't put words in someone's mouth. I've also noticed that Conda's brother Jeremy seems to offer up a lot of witty comments about teammates that have an edge of snarkiness. Maybe it runs in the family.Then Chris had a meltdown, shutting herself in the bathroom and telling her "Santa Claus" husband "bleep- bleep- bleep" — we caught the gist. Trainer Bob Harper talked her down from the ledge — something that he didn't seem willing to do with the other weepy contestant, Gail.

And speaking of controversy, am I the only one who senses that the tension between trainers Bob and Dolvett is manufactured? The eye-rolling, the muttering — it just feels like they're play-acting for the camera.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Slow Food Utah Accepting Micro-Grant Applications

Every year, Slow Food Utah takes applications from the community for micro-grants. This program was created for local food-related projects, especially for small-scale food growers and producers, community innovators, and educators.

In the past Slow Food has funded school gardens, the building of a goat barn, purchase of a tractor, seeds and greenhouse supplies, new baby piglets, and much more. All this is possible with help from our donors and our annual fundraising event, the Feast of Five Senses.
Any individual, small business, or non-profit committed to Slow Food International principles of good, clean, fair food, cultural diversity, and convivality can apply.

High priorities include projects that help increase or enhance:
  • local skills and capacity,
  • the availability of locally produced foods
    (especially artisanal, Ark of Taste, wildcrafted, heirloom, or sustainably produced),
  • regional and cultural food traditions,
  • taste or youth education.

Download a copy of the application form and follow the detailed instructions on Slow Food's website.

Slow Food Utah is a non-profit organization dedicated, in part, to promoting the "eat local" movement, small independent farms, local producers & retailers, and food artisans. We are engaged in food education such as Slow Food in Schools. We link producers and consumers, foster community, support eating local foods and support local farmers. 

"Bringing everyone to the table to celebrate the pleasures of 
good, clean, fair food." 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Top Girl Scout Cookie

With Girl Scouts (and sometimes their parents) now going door to door and office to office selling cookies, a new Good Morning America/SodaHead.com poll has revealed which Girl Scout cookie is America's favorite.
  Topping the list is Thin Mints, with 49% of the vote, followed by Samoas (28%), Tagalongs (11%), Do-Si-Dos (6%) and Trefoils (6%).  The poll, which had over 28,000 responses, was conducted during the first week of January 2012.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Utah Kids Are Top Peanut Butter Chefs

Chicken Bahn Mi with Sweet Peanut Dippity
A Utah brother and sister are both top ten finalists in the Jif Most Creative Peanut Butter Sandwich Contest." Sailor Mylroie, 10, and West Mylroie,8, of Santa Clara are both competing for a $25,000 college fund. Their original sandwich recipes are posted onwww.jif.com where the public can vote for their favorite. Online voting is one of the factors to determine the winner.Two years ago West was a runner-up in the Jif contest, earning him a $2,500 college fund and a trip to New York City for the competition. This time, his entry is Chicken Bahn Mi with Sweet Peanut Dippity.  It features peanut butter, chili sauce and grilled chicken. 
"I just took all my favorite foods and put them all together to make a Vietnamese sandwich," West said in a telephone interview. "Ever since my cousins moved to Vietnam, I've tried the food and became obsessed with it."

He said one of the keys to becoming a finalist in the contest is to, "use peanut butter in avery different way that you wouldn't think of."
Sweet Chili and Crunchy Peanut Chicken Tacos

Sailor’s recipe Sweet Chili and Crunchy Peanut Chicken Tacos features cilantro, chicken and avocado in a hard taco shell.
"I've entered a lot of contests, and when you find out you win, that's really exciting," she said in a phone interview.  "It's OK if I don't win, because I always enter more. I've been trying this contest for three years, and this time I thought, why not a taco? Because I like to make tacos and cookies."
They are apparently following in the culinary footsteps of his mother, Erin Renouf Mylroie, one of Utah's most successful recipe contestants. She has been a finalist in two Pillsbury Bake-offs, the Food Network's Ultimate Recipe Challenge, and the grand prize winner of Rachael Ray's Burger Bash contest. She also took 5th place in the National Chicken Cooking Contest and was a runner-up in the National Beef Cook-Off.
The Mylroie kids have won other contests; most recently they were finalists in an Avocados From Mexico Video contest. West won $1,000 in 2009 for designing a winning wrapper for Nestle Push-Up Pops, and Sailor recently won American Girl dolls in an American Girl essay contest. 
"They both love to cook," Erin said in a phone interview. "They're always at my elbows fighting for a chance to help in the kitchen."
Now the two hope to garner enough online votes to send them to New York City. Here are there recipes, as posted online atwww.jif.com.
3/4 cup Jif® Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter
 2 tablespoon chicken broth or water
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar3 Tbsp. Thai sweet chili sauce
3 Tbsp. lime juice
1 and 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves
1 (6-ounce) package grilled chicken
Make the dippity: In a medium microwaveable bowl, combine Jif Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter, broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, sweet chili sauce, and lime juice, stirring until well combined.
Heat peanut butter dippity mixture in microwave for 20 seconds, or until just warm. Spread cut sides of baguette with 1/3 cup peanut butter dippity. Reserve the remaining peanut butter dippity in four small separate ramekins, for dipping. Place spinach, chicken, carrot, onion, and cilantro on bottom cut side of baguette. Close baguette and cut lengthwise into four separate sandwiches. Serve with peanut butter dippity. Yield: four sandwiches.. Tip: Sandwich stores well in refrigerator, wrapped tightly, for up to 24 hours

1/3 cup Jif ®Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter
3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 (6 ounce) package grilled chicken strips, warmed and cut into bite sized pieces
8 white corn taco shells, heated according to package directions
1 cup baby spinach leaves
1 medium carrot, grated
½ avocado, chopped
¼ cup red onion, very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves

In a medium microwaveable bowl, combine Jif Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter, soy sauce, brown sugar, sweet chili sauce, and orange juice, stirring until a few lumps remain, but mixture is almost smooth. Heat peanut butter mixture in microwave for 30 seconds, or until just warm; stir until smooth. In a medium bowl, combine half of peanut butter mixture with chicken strips, stirring just to heat through. Layer insides of taco shells with spinach, chicken strips, carrot, avocado, onion, and cilantro. Drizzle insides of each taco with remaining peanut butter mixture. Serve. (Serves 4, 2 tacos per person).  

Monday, January 16, 2012

Seed Swap For Gardeners

The People’s Market Seed Swap takes place Saturday, Jan. 21 from 5-7 p.m. at 1726 S. 700 West in Salt Lake City. The Community Food Co-op of Utah's warehouse will be filled with hundreds of garden enthusiasts swapping seeds, and there will be educational gardening workshops throughout the evening. Local seed vendors will be there with hard-to-find varieties of heirloom seeds. Wasatch Community Gardens and Slow Food Utah will be giving away free seeds as well.   

How it works: 
1. Gather your leftover vegetable & flower seeds from last year.
2. If you have no seeds, come anyway and they will give you some to start with.
3.Bring your friends to the Seed Swap.
4. Trade or donate your seeds with local garden enthusiasts & farmers.
5. Use your new seeds to start or expand your space with variety.

Everyone is welcome to attend this free event.

According to the organizers, there’s always a wide variety of experience in the people who come. There will be expert gardeners with years of experience who have tried hundreds of kinds of seeds over the years. There will also be brand new gardeners-to-be who come to find out how to get started, and what grows well in our area. 

Caroline Kenyon of Kenyon Organics will be coming back again this year with her amazing varieties of heirloom seeds. There are several other local sources for seed as well.
Slow Food will be bringing special seed selections from the Ark of Taste project. The US Ark of Taste is a catalog of over 200 delicious foods in danger of extinction. Gardeners are encouraged to try some of these varieties, and those who have grown some in years past can share their results.
For more information and tips about the Seed Swap or the People’s Market visit the website: www.slcpeoplesmarket.org. 



Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Restaurant dining can be hazardous to your waistline. It's hard to resist the "splurge" mentality; there's that unconscious thought that, "I'm eating out, so I'm going to forget about the calories." And, the reason that a lot of the dishes taste so good is because they contain lots of butter, cream, oil, salt and sugar. In fact, a new Food Network series, called "Fat Chef," explores the struggles of overweight chefs,  underscoring the idea that there's a lot of calories coming out of those kitchens.
Pinon Cafe offers a daily healthy take-out meal.
But more restaurants are also offering some healthy choices that are filling and flavorful besides the old standby grilled chicken salad. In my column that ran in today's Deseret News, I listed the following options:
On the chain restaurant front, Applebee's  recently updated its menu to offer five entrees that are under 550 calories. They include a Roasted Garlic 7-ounce Sirloin served with herbed potatoes and a grilled portobello mushroom cap, Sizzling Chili Lime Chicken with Asian-style vegetables,
Sizzling Asian Shrimp & Broccoli, Signature Sirloin with Garlic Herb Shrimp and Grilled Dijon Chicken & Portobellos. According to an Applebee's press release, the Signature Sirloin with Garlic Herb Shrimp was Applebee's top seller among all entrees during the first two months of 2011, the first time in Applebee's history that a lower calorie entree was the best-selling independent menu item.
On the local front, Pinon Café & Market at 2095 E, 1300 South offers a "Healthy Meal" takeout option. The menu, which changes daily, can be found on the café's website at http://pinonmarket.com/menus/healthy-meals#healthy. They include entrees such as Salmon Cake with Cucumber Apple Slaw and Herbed Brown Rice, Roasted Vegetable Napoleon with Pan-Seared Chicken Breast, Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Apricot Chutney and Steamed Vegetables, or Seared White Fish in Fennel Saffron Broth with Seasonal Vegetables.
Café owner and chef Victoria Topham said the meals contain a healthy ratio of balance of carbs, proteins and fats. Fats and sugars are used sparingly, and carbs are whole-grain instead of white flour. Flavor is added through herbs, spices, balsamic vinegar, vegetables and so on.
She said she's found through her own experience that it's important to eat the right kinds of foods to fuel the body's metabolism and burn calories.
"The answer for women has always been to eat less and exercise more, and when you are younger, that works," said Topham. "But when you are older it matters what you eat as well. You can eat nothing but salad and still not change your body. You need to eat a combination of the right kinds of foods."
The price is $28 for two adult meals, or $15 for one adult meal. She offers discounts for ordering multiple meals. The meals are ordered in advance by email or phone so that they can be made up fresh and picked up between 5-7 p.m.. Similar menu items are available in the café's display case for walk-in customers, but they may vary.
"A lot of processed food tastes good because it has a lot of sugar and oil in it," she said. "But we are coming up with real, fresh food that is satisfying and pretty healthy."
For several months, Log Haven's chef Dave Jones has offered a three-course "Low Cal-High Impact Special" under 700 calories. It is also gluten-free, according to the restaurant's spokesperson Lesley Christoph.  Currently offered is a first course salad of wild arugula, avocado, quinoa, pine nuts, Meyer lemon and California olive oil; and an entrée of Grilled Paillard of Local Turkey served with a cassoulette of barley, butternut squash, chard, tasso, Slide Ridge Honey and local cider/mustard sauce. Dessert is Roasted Pineapple Sorbet with Coconut Water Granita and fresh mango. Price is $36, and this special will run until the end of February.
Oasis Café,151 S. 500 East, last week began offering a $25 three-course dinner special to help guests to eat "responsibly."  The menu changes nightly, but could include a mixed green salad or the restaurant's signature Tomato Fennel Soup for the first course; and entrees such as Pan-Roasted Scallops on Purple Sticky Rice with Wasabi Oil or Sauteed Tiger Prawns over Corn Risotto with Brussels Sprouts. Dessert could be Port Wine Poached Pear or a choice of fresh-made fruit sorbet.
So, it IS possible to eat out and not jeopardize your diet.  But there's no guarantee that you won't jeopardize your wallet.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Log Haven's Dining & Dancing Series Begins This Weekend

Log Haven in Millcreek Canyon is bringing back the dinner dance! For those of you who watch "Dancing With The Stars," and wish there was somewhere to go to "shake a leg" or "cut a rug," here's your chance. Jan. 15 is the first night of the series, featuring a live band, Wayne and Ike Egan. There will be two dance instructors from Ballroom Utah to get the party started and offer some tips.
Executive chef Dave Jones is providing a dinner buffet from 5-7 p.m., and dancing is from 6:30-9 p.m.  This Dining & Dancing series is going to be a monthly event. Regular price is $75 per person. There was a half-price voucher through Google Offers, but in checking online it says it's no longer available. 
February 26 will be a Sadie Hawkins Dance, March 11 a Masked Ball, and April 22 is Swing Into Spring. 
Sounds like great fun! I'd love to attend — and I'd even be able to lure my husband out with Dave Jones' fabulous cooking — if they were on another night besides Sunday. 
Log Haven is at 6451 E. Millcreek Canyon Rd., Salt Lake City; phone (801) 272-8255

Saturday, January 7, 2012

BIGGEST LOSER: Brett Hoebel is Shaping Up Chefs

Brett Hoebel, a past trainer on "The Biggest Loser," is shaping up chefs on a new Food Network series called "Fat Chef." The show  premieres Thursday, Jan. 26 at 10 p.m. Easters & Pacific time (check your local listing for the time in your area). 
The six-episode series gives viewers an inside look at the struggle chefs face when their love for food becomes overwhelming and affects their health. It follows 12 overweight culinary professionals from Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and Ohio on their four-month venture to overcome weight issues with the help of therapists, nutritionists, and trainers.
Each episode will include two chefs working with their health consultant, including Christine Avanti (nutritionist, author of Skinny Chicks Eat Real Food), Robert Brace (dubbed as one of New York’s “top fitness gurus”) and Brett Hoebel  as they look to defeat their abusive relationship with food and regain control of their lives. 
Hoebel was one of the two "unknown" trainers on Season 11 on "The Biggest Loser."  Deni Hill of Bountiful, Utah was the $100,000 at-home winner that season. She told me that after she was eliminated from the show, she still got regular calls of advice and support from Hoebel and the other 
"unknown" trainer, Cara Castronuova. 

Here's an interval training tip that Deni learned from Hoebel during her time on the ranch: “When you are on a stationery bike, pedal at a high wattage (high intensity) as fast as you can for 30 seconds, then pedal at a low wattage for 30 seconds. Repeat this 10 times, for a total of 10 minutes. Then bike at a normal pace for five minutes before repeating the 30-second intervals for ten more minutes.”  

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Is there anyone who DOESN’T include “Lose weight” on their list of New Year’s resolutions?
The holiday excesses are usually followed by lots of diet books such as the new “The Biggest Loser Quick And Easy Cookbook,” written by Devin Alexander and staff and cast members from NBC’s popular weight-loss reality series.
Soon beginning its 13th season, “The Biggest Loser” has spawned a number of cookbooks, as well as exercise DVDs, water bottles, protein powders, calorie counters, two fitness resorts among its “branded” products.
The cookbook’s author, Devin Alexander, appeared on an episode of last season’s “The Biggest Loser” and where contestants were challenged to create a dish for the cookbook.  The winning recipe, Black Team’s Slimmer Summer Slaw With Pork Medallions” weighed in a 210 calories per serving, and yes, you’ll find the recipe in this book (and on NBC’s website at http://www.nbc.com/the-biggest-loser/exclusives/nutrition/contestant-recipes/summer-slaw-with-pork-medallions).
Although the recipes are billed as “quick and easy,” most are not the “rip open a bag of processed food and add a can of something” type of convenience recipes. They use fresh fruits and vegetables, which may require a little peeling and chopping; and whole grains, which take some time to cook. They also call for ingredients such as all-natural, low-salt, agave- or honey-sweetened ketchup, or all-natural low-fat cheddar cheese, and all-natural bacon bits. These can be hard to find in a general supermarket.
It may seem like a bit of effort for one serving. But, maybe that’s the point, to tell yourself your health and well-being is worth it. 
Sprinkled throughout the book are quotes from various contestants about their “go-to” snacks or dinners. They offer quick ideas when the alternative might be running to the fast food drive-through.
“I love to spread a couple of Crispbread crackers with a little bit of goat cheese,” wrote Joe Mitchell of Season 12. “I then throw one or two pieces of lean ham on top, and it’s like a fast and healthy crispy sandwich.”
“When I get a chocolate craving, I snack on Greek yogurt mixed with cocoa powder, Truvia, and vanilla,” wrote Hannah Curlee from Seaon 11. “It’s a little more than 100 calories, and it taste like chocolate pudding!”
Jesse Atkins from Season 10 wrote that he adds a cup of raw spinach in his smoothies (along with a cup of frozen strawberries, a half-cup of frozen raspberries, a cup of milk and a cup of water). “The spinach doesn’t change the taste at all. It’s just a great way to get an extra serving of veggies in there! “ he said. If you need more sweetness to the smoothie, he advises using a packed of Truvia sweetener.
Miggy Cancel of Season 9 said she likes to combine a variety of beans, such as white, red and black. “Add cucumber and tomatoes, some fresh cilantro, and olive oil. Let the salad marinate for a few hours. It’s a high source of protein and a convenient meal!”
“My favorite dish is a very simple BLT that uses thin wheat bread, turkey bacon and lettuce,” said Dan Evans of Season 11. “When I really splurge, I add a dab of low-calories cream cheese instead of low-fat mayo. It’s just something I invented with what was in the Ranch kitchen, and it’s only about 150 calories!”
Deni Hill, the Bountiful woman who won Season 11’s $100,00 at-home prize, contributed a recipe for Gazpacho Quinoa. Last summer when I did a Deseret News story on Deni and other Utah contestants, she shared a recipe for a black bean and quinoa salad.
“I’d never heard of quinoa until The Biggest Loser,” she said. “But now I make it and add veggies to create a wrap sandwich with it, or have it as a side salad. I love it.”
Deni is now involved in a program called Sponsor Me Slim, and talks about her weight loss journey on her website, denihill.com.
Here is a recipe from the book:
Crunchy Cajun Chickpeas
Olive oil spray (propellant free)
1 tablespoon all-natural egg substitute
½ tablespoon whole grain oat flour
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1 can no-salt-added chickpeas, drained, rinsed and patted dry
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mist a large nonstick baking sheet with the olive oil spray. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg substitute, flour, paprika, salt, black pepper, cayenne, and garlic powder together until combined. Add the chickpeas and toss to coat. Place them on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer so they do not touch.
Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate the chickpeas with a spatula. Bake for 17-20 minutes longer, or until crispy and hot. Serve immediately. Makes 2 heaping ½-cup servings.
Nutrition per ½ cup serving: 222 calories, 12 grams protein 39 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fat, trace saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 8 grams fiber, 210 mg sodium.

Monday, January 2, 2012


 As we bid 2011 farewell, I'd like to note that while incomes didn't go up, food prices did. The crazy weather patterns brought droughts to some areas, flooding in others, and natural disasters such as tornadoes that wreaked havoc on crops.  Good Housekeeping Magazine's test kitchen listed five of the most dramatic price increases at http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/product-reviews/test-kitchen-blog/five-most-dramatic-food-prices-changes.  Here they are:
1. Nuts: According to Market Analysts Mintec, the average wholesale cost of nuts, including almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, brazil nuts, pistachios, peanuts, and macadamias, increased 36% from April 2010 to April 2011.
2. Eggs: Prices rose by 22.8%. However, when you can  buy them for around $2 a dozen, they are still an expensive protein source with a lot of other nutrients as well. 
3. Apples went up 12.3%, and Good Housekeeping says it's partly because of consumer demand for the trendy varieties like Honeycrisp. 
4. Potatoes: According to the Consumer Price Index, potato prices were up 11.9%. With twice the average rainfall in the east and cold spring weather across North America, crop losses and delays were significant. But on a trip to Cache Valley last fall, I was able to buy a 50-pound bag of recently picked potatoes for just $12. What a bargain, considering that potatoes around $1 per pound in supermarkets. When you buy a huge amount such as 50 pounds, there's the risk that many will go to waste. But with the holiday season, I was able to use them in mashed, scalloped, au gratin, roasted, and in many soups. 
5. Fats & Oils: Surging soybean prices in 2011 made the commodity prices of fats and oils go up 11.1%.

 Because of the rising hay and grain prices this past year, it's obvious that next year we will see higher beef prices. Maybe we should start growing hay on our lawns for extra income. We wouldn't have to mow as often.