Tag Archives: dessert

Cryptically Malicious?

…and that is nothing like “magically delicious.”

Christmas is coming…which we all knew already, right?  Christmas, aside from the gift giving and celebration, is laden with food.  Especially desserts.  Lots of desserts.

I have read an abundance of posts from fellow bloggers about their holiday eating plans, and about the ridiculous amounts of food and desserts available throughout this season.  How does one stay focused and on track with so much temptation lurking around?

I was really quite relaxed about the whole thing until…

Each year we head to my mother’s parents’ house for Christmas.  The adults exchange gifts (which actually just migrated into an absurd exchange of gift certificates several years ago) while the children are corralled into a small space in the elegant home of my mother’s parents.  They, of course, are unable to actually touch anything since the pristine home is museum-like in many ways.  It is an uncomfortable gathering, and it has been for many years.  In light of this unbearably tense environment, everyone in the family stays pretty focused on eating/grazing.  After all, if you constantly have food in your mouth, no one can expect to have a conversation.

Traditionally, the entire family is divided by sisters (my mother and her four sisters) as far as food goes.  Their parents would provide the meat (usually a deli tray), and the rest of the meal gets divided up between the five sisters and brought in like a bizarre potluck.  This year is no different, with one tiny exception…

My mother and I are in charge of bringing dessert.  When she told me the news I about jumped through the roof.  Seriously.  My face immediately went red hot and I was saying all sorts of colorful words I will not share here.  Dessert.  Now, the whole family is well aware that I have lost 60+ pounds.  So, why ask *me* to bring dessert?  Is that being somewhat passive agressive?  I think so, personally.  Hence my cryptically malicious title.  I am livid.

In all the flustered chaos in my head, though, I am pretty sure I have developed a cryptically malicious counter attack.  Bring fruit…and nothing else.  So, this year the family will be gathered around the “buffet” on my mother’s parents counter top…in that crazy “picture perfect” kitchen where everyone is afraid to touch or use anything…with fruit as the “grand finale.”  They will be angry (and I am sure that is an understatement) and I will probably get asked at least two dozens times, “Where’s the *real* dessert?”  That is fine with me.

I bet I will not be in charge of dessert next year.

How are you planning to make it through the holiday food season?  Are you going to stick to your regularly scheduled programming or let things slide and have a free-for-all?

-Erica

Pineapple Pudding Cake

Here’s another scrumptious dessert fit for all this hot weather.

PINEAPPLE PUDDING CAKE

1 pkg (9 oz) yellow cake mix
1-1/2 c. cold fat-free milk
1 pkg (1 oz) sugar-free instant vanilla pudding mix
1 pkg (8 oz) fat-free cream cheese
1 can (20 oz) unsweetened crushed pineapple, drained
1 carton (8 oz) frozen fat-free whipped topping, thawed
1/4 c. chopped walnuts, toasted
20 maraschino cherries, well drained

1. Prepare cake mix according to package direction; pour into a 13 X 9-in baking pan coated with cooking spray.  Bake at 350 F for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool completely on a wire rack.

2. In a bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes.  Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft set.  In a small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth.  Beat in pudding mixture until blended. Spread evenly over cake.  Sprinkle with pineapple; spread with whipped topping.  Sprinkle with walnuts and garnish with cherries.  Refrigerate until serving.

Here’s the dirt on this recipe:
20 servings

131 calories
2 g. fat (1 g. saturated fat)
1 mg. cholesterol
217 mg. sodium
24 g. carbs
1 g. fiber
3 g. protein

-Erica

Caramel Pecan Candy

In light of posting about cravings I figured I would post something sweet (for all those out there cravings something “naughty”).  These are not too bad that you cannot indulge in one for dessert.

CARAMEL PECAN CANDY

1/3 c. plus 1/2 c. butter, divided
20 cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies (Oreos), crushed
1 package (14 oz) caramels
3 c. chopped pecans, toasted

TOPPING:
3/4 c. semisweet chocolate chips
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. heavy whipping cream
3 Tbsp. light corn syrup
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract

1. In a large saucepan, melt 1/3 c. butter over medium heat; stir in cookie crumbs.  Press into an ungreased 9-in square baking dish.  Bake at 325 F for 10 to 12 minutes or until set.  Cool on a wire rack.  Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt caramels and remaining butter over low heat.  Stir in the pecans.  Pour over crust.  Cool.

2. For topping, in a small saucepan, combine chocolate chips, butter, cream, and corn syrup.  Cook and stir over low heat until smooth.  Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla.  Pour over caramel layer.  Cool on a wire rack.  Refrigerate until chocolate hardens.  Let candy stand at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting into 1-inch squares.  Store in the refrigerator.

Here’s the dirt on this recipe:
6-1/2 dozen (1-inch pieces)

94 calories
7 g. fat (3 g. saturated)
7 mg. cholesterol
55 mg. sodium
8 g. carbs
1 g. fiber
1 g. protein

-Erica

Cheesecake…really

As you can probably tell already I love sweets.  I really do.  There is nothing better than cuddling up on the couch with my hubby and sharing something sweet…or is there?  Yes, yes there is – losing weight and being healthy!  But, I have already declared that I will not be giving up all sweets.  I know I cannot do that, and I know if I try I will fail.

Thankfully, there are options available to enjoy without sabotaging your entire day (or week…or plan in its entirety).  This happens to be one of them:

CHEESECAKE

12 graham crackers (2.5″ squares), crushed finely
2 c. light cream cheese (Neufchatel)
1 c. fat-free sour cream
1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 tsp. grated lemon zest

1. Preheat the oven to 325 F; wrap the outside of a 10-inch springform pan with heavy-duty foil; then spray the inside entirely with nonstick spray (again I use Cake Release by Wilton).  Press the graham cracker crumbs over the bottom and partially up the sides of the pan.

2. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.  Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating on low speed until blended; stir in the lemon zest.  Pour the batter into the springform pan and set into a large roasting pan.  Pour boiling water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.  Bake until almost completely set (about 30 to 35 minutes).

3. Turn off the oven and prop open the door with a wooden spoon; leave the cake in the oven another 30 minutes.  Transfer to a rack and run a knife around the edge of the pan to release the cake.  Cool completely, then refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.

Here’s the dirt on this recipe:
16 servings

128 calories
6 g fat (3 g saturated, 0 g Trans fat)
42 mg cholesterol
210 mg sodium
14 g carbs
0 g fiber
5 g protein
64 mg calcium

-Erica

Pumpkin-Apple Bread

I *love* bread, really.  To me there is nothing quite like a great piece of bread (not that over-processed “sandwich” bread you can buy in bulk at the grocery).

Here is a recipe I really enjoy, and it is actually good for you.

PUMPKIN-APPLE BREAD

2 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 large egg
1 c. low-fat buttermilk
1 apple, peeled, cored, and grated (I use green or yellow ones)
1/2 c. canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 tsp. powdered sugar

1. Preheat your oven to 350 F; spray a 9 X 5 loaf pan with nonstick spray (I actually use Cake Release by Wilton – and I love it!).

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, powder, soda, salt, and spice.  In a small bowl, beat egg and add the buttermilk, apple, and pumpkin.  Pour into the flour mixture; stir until just combined (do not overmix).

3. Spoon into the pan.  Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 65 to 75 minutes.  Cool in the pan about 10 minutes then flip out and cool completely on a rack.  Dust with the powdered sugar.

Here’s the dirt on this recipe:
10 servings
137 calories
1 g. fat (0 saturated fat, 0 trans fat)
22 mg. cholesterol
243 mg sodium
28 g. carbs
1 g. fiber
4 g. protein
57 mg. calcium

I typically bake a loaf and then cut in half.  I tightly wrap one half in plastic wrap and put in a plastic bag to freeze.  I cut the other half into slices and keep them in sandwich baggies.

-Erica