Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Low Fat Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with Graham Cracker Crust and Crumble Topping

I must say, before I even begin the details of this post, I'm pretty proud of this pie. I've said before I generally prefer to cook vs. bake, but obviously it's still important to find ways to get a good sweet fix without the full calorie and fat versions. So not only was this pie AWESOME and low in fat (almost NO butter!), it also was my very first attempt at a pie. Ever. And I will be making it again. It was a big hit all around.

Unfortunately, I didn't get this posted before my trip, so I don't know how much rhubarb is left right now. My plant has gone dormant with the high temperatures, so I'll likely make this pie again this fall when the rhubarb stalks come back.


I used the Low Fat Graham Cracker Crust in my recent post.

Pie filling:
Inspired from this recipe at Eatingwell.com.

  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. instant tapioca granules
  • 4 cups sliced fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup rhubarb sliced in small chunks
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice (I used the juice of one freshly squeezed lemon)
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon zest (optional)
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
Crumble Topping:
Adapted from this recipe.

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
Directions for entire pie:
  1. Prepare crust based on previous post and set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  3. Process the tapioca granules in a blender until finely ground.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the strawberries, rhubarb, tapioca, sugar, lemon, nutmeg and salt. Toss well.
  5. Pour the pie mixture into the pie plate onto the pre-baked graham cracker crust and spread evenly throughout the pie plate.
  6. To prepare the crumble topping, in a small mixing bowl, stir together the whole wheat flour and brown sugar. Cut in the butter (best if it's still cold) in small chunks, stirring a bit, until it's a crumbly mixture. Distribute the crumble topping evenly over the top of the pie.
  7. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Rotate the pie 180 degrees, reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling, about 30-35 minutes more.
  8. Cool at least 2 hours before serving.
  9. Serve with a dollop of reduced fat whipped cream for a tasty dessert!

Nutritional Information (including the crust):
For 8 servings per pie:
  • 295 calories per slice
  • 4.5 grams of fat
  • 5.4 grams of fiber
About 5 WW points

For 16 servings per pie:
  • 148 calories per slice
  • 2.9 grams of fat
  • 2.7 grams of fiber
About 3 WW points

Note: Nutritional content does not include added whipped topping/ice cream/frozen yogurt.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Low Fat Cinnamon Graham Cracker Pie Crust (with yogurt, no butter)

Gearing up for an awesome pie post! Started with an easy, pretty much fat free, graham cracker pie crust. The best part is there is no butter included - the crust is assembled with non-fat plain yogurt - worked great!

Adapted from this recipe.

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (I used reduced fat cinnamon graham crackers for a little added sweetness)
  • 2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 Tbsp. plain nonfat yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Between two sheets of wax paper, place a few full graham crackers and crush with a rolling pin until sufficiently crumbled. Continue until you get about 1.5 cups' worth (about 8 full graham cracker sheets)
  3. Once the graham crackers are crushed, put them in a medium sized mixing bowl and stir in the cocoa powder, yogurt and sugar until sufficiently mixed into a ball.
  4. Coat a 9 inch pie plate with cooking spray and evenly spread the graham cracker mixture on the bottom and sides of the pan. I used waxed paper to help.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 5 min.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool before adding desired pie fillings.
Nutritional Information:

At 8 servings per pie:
  • 66 calories
  • .8 grams of fat
  • .7 grams of fiber
About 1 WW point

At 16 servings per pie:
  • 33 calories
  • .4 grams of fat
  • .3 grams of fiber
About .5 WW points

I'm Back! Lots of good recipes on the way!

I'm sure some of you were starting to wonder if I'd abandoned you...nope! I spent the last two weeks traveling here with a group of high school students:
I chaperoned a high school France trip with my mom and my high school French teacher. Since this was a tour with a set itinerary, I'm sure you can imagine it posed a bit of an eating challenge to try and keep within a normal eating pattern. All dinners were included as part of the trip, so I didn't have control over what was served. However, even though the food can be pretty rich in France (and soooooooo good), their portions are a lot smaller...

So, after still making sure I had some of my favorite French culinary items (I'm a sucker for stinky cheese, bread and wine), I am happy to report that after 2 weeks in France I gained less than 1 pound (Ok, I will admit I've been home for 4 days and have been eating very healthy since then but still..) and I am very proud of myself.

What was my strategy?
  1. Portion control - I didn't go to France with the idea that I couldn't have some of my favorite things (yes, I had some croissants, pain au chocolat, crepes AND dessert). But what I did was control it. As with the way I eat at home, if something wasn't one of my favorite items, I didn't eat it. For the stuff I really liked, I made sure to have it but space it out as much as I could and not overdo it. I am proud to say that even with some of the awesome desserts we had as part of the dinners, I didn't finish them. It took a lot of self-talking, but I did it.
  2. Picnic and fruit stands - Instead of sitting down to a restaurant for lunches which were on our own, for almost every meal my mom and I would picnic. We'd stop in a little grocery store and pick up some bread, cheese, fruit, snacks, etc. Also, since it was June and there was TONS of seasonal, fresh fruit, I ate a TON of cherries while we were gone. It was easy to pick up a bag at a fruit stand and have them while we were out and about during the day. Not only was this a good option on our waistlines, it helped our pocketbooks as well!
  3. Water - Keeping hydrated was huge. We always kept water on us (which also meant we were signing up for the sport of "olympic WC searching"...for those of you who have traveled in France, you know what I'm talking about...bathrooms aren't always easy to find...and then there's often one, maybe two stalls). Besides helping control hunger, water makes you feel better, especially when traveling. Every night with dinner we asked for a pitcher of water with the meal (and then usually 2-3 more as the dinner went on :) ).
  4. Yogurt and Compot - Two awesome options at most hotels for breakfast. Even though the yogurt isn't fat free, it's awesome in Europe, and is usually a small portion with much less artificial flavoring. Adding a little bit of honey to plain yogurt was great for breakfast and sticks with you. They also often offer applesauce or compot for breakfast, which is one of my favorite things to eat in France and a good breakfast option. I'll admit, I often jacked the compot from the hotels to also have with lunch. :)
  5. Bring a little something from home - We packed some home snacks for part of our picnics as well - some trail mix, almonds, 100 calorie breakfast muffins, granola bars, and WW 1 pt. bars. These were a nice addition to our picnics.
  6. Good friends - While our students were in their family stays we had the opportunity to visit some of our friends in France. They were very gracious about having food items we could enjoy but not feel bad about eating later. One friend had fat free yogurt in stock (I KNEW there was some!) and our other friends made a wonderful ratatoullie dinner one evening with a lettuce salad and AWESOME vinaigrette. We ate well.
So, those are just a few tidbits on what I did to still enjoy my travels but not fall completely off the bandwagon. Will get working right now on some of the recipes I wanted to blog BEFORE I left! In the meantime, here's a few photos from the trip:

We have to start with a food picture. Now this is my kind of salad. This was the caprese salad we had for our dinner on the Eiffel Tower. Since tomatoes are my favorite food, you can imagine my level of elation when I laid eyes on our salad. Cherry tomatoes over mozzarella with fresh basil, olive oil (notice the small amount on the plate...that's seriously all the salad needed) and a taste of pesto. I was in heaven:

And here are a few more photos from the trip(some food related, of course):
Afternoon break in St. Malo (Brittany):

Giant container of honey to go along with the fat free plain yogurt...yum:
Glass of rosé beachside in La Baule:Wine barrels on our vineyard tour in the Loire Valley:American Cemetary overlooking Omaha Beach in Normandy. We were there less than a week after the 65th anniversary of D-day:

Le Mont St. Michel:
Wine and bread...cheese was probably gone at this point!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Grilled Summer Vegetable Kebobs: Zucchini & Yellow Squash with Pearl Onions

While I'm sure there's a recipe out there for this, I've never looked for one. I love zucchini, yellow squash and the grill, so there's my inspiration right there.

As with the recent grilling post, not much goes into it, but it's a great option for the grill. Since the goal for this blog is to offer people a variety of healthy eating options, this fits the bill. One of the biggest challenges in keeping with a healthy eating pattern is when we're pressed for time. So the next time you're grilling and you don't have much time to prepare, these vegetables along with the Cinnamon Ginger Grilled Boneless Pork Chop is an easy, quick solution.


  • 2 medium zucchini, washed and thickly sliced
  • 2 yellow squash, washed and thickly sliced
  • 6 oz. bag pearl onions, peeled
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2-3 tsp. minced jarred garlic
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  1. Slice the vegetables (a bit thick so they are easier to skewer) and add to a medium to large size bowl. I halve the larger diameter yellow squash pieces.
  2. Peel onion and halve a few of them against the layers (so they can still be easily put on the skewers) and add to bowl.
  3. Add olive oil, garlic, salt & pepper and toss.
  4. Thread onto skewers as desired (I did yellow squash, zucchini, onion). Be sure to go against the onion layers so they're not as likely to fall off.
  5. Cook over a hot grill until done to your liking (we usually add them to the grill before it's quite hot enough for meat. They tend to take a bit longer to cook than meat).
  6. De-skewer and enjoy!

This amount of vegetables filled 3 large skewers. I also have a grill pan that sets directly on the grill. I've grilled them this way a number of times and they are just as good. For this I usually use large sweet onion chunks instead of pearl onions. You could also substitute them for the kebobs.

Nutritional Information:

Makes about 6 servings. Roughly per serving:

70 calories
4.7 grams of fat (.6 saturated)
1.9 grams of dietary fiber

About 1 WW point.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Cinnamon Ginger Grilled Boneless Pork Chop

Inspired from my sister, who came up with this great idea for a quick pork chop grill-side flavor boost!

This isn't as much of a recipe, per se, as it is a great idea to keep handy when in need of a quick option to throw on the grill. When everyone else is grilling up their full-fat hot dogs, hamburgers and brats, they'll be jealous of your awesome pork chop. It's quick and simple. Best part is that it's different from a marinade in that it can be prepared right before putting the meat on the grill vs. having to sit in the refrigerator for hours.

  • Boneless, skinless pork chops, thawed and trimmed of fat (as many as you want to grill)
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • Ground ginger
  • Ground cinnamon


Trim fat off pork (I know, that's the good stuff, but trimming it is what makes the pork a great grilling option and a departure from chicken).

Arrange pork chops on a plate/platter.

Lightly spray each one with cooking spray (you don't need much - it's just to help the seasonings stick).

Sprinkle each pork chop moderately with ginger then cinnamon.

Add to a sufficiently heated grill (we use charcoal, so I'm not sure the temperature for gas), turn at least once and cook through.


Nutritional information per 3 oz. serving:

*According to WebMD, a 3 oz. serving of lean meat is about the size of a deck of playing cards*

164 calories
5.7 grams of fat
1.9 grams saturated fat
0 grams dietary fiber

About 4 WW points.

Note: Pay attention to the meat size, as most boneless pork chops are greater than 3 oz. when purchased pre-cut. One way to keep portion control in check is to cook as-is and when the meat is cooked, cut one to be a similar size to a deck of cards. Keep the rest for leftovers or share with someone.

Aaaand, if you really want a picture, here you go. When this came off the grill the other night, I didn't have time to take a better one...bad layout and a bit blurry but you get the idea. The pork is not burned, the cinnamon just makes it darker.