Christine’s Skinny Pumpkin Pie Cottage Cheese

Christine’s Skinny Pumpkin Pie Cottage Cheese

Meal type Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Misc Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
Occasion Casual Party, Thanksgiving
Based on a 2000 calorie diet
Per Serving
Calories 333 kcal
Protein 23g
Total Carbohydrate 49g
Total Fat 8g
November 16th is National Fast Food Day. Around here we think of fast food as something that is quick to make, provides a PC combo and gets you out the door and on with your day - without having to stop at the traditional fast food places. For a great fast recipe try my Pumpkin Pie Cottage Cheese.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cups nonfat cottage cheese
  • 3/4 cups organic packed pumpkin
  • 1 tablespoon organic raisins
  • 1 tablespoon crushed walnuts
  • cinnamon

Directions

Step 1
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.
Step 2
Mix well.
Step 3
Sprinkle with cinnamon and enjoy.
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Holiday Guests With Dietary Restrictions? Bring it On!

At the holidays more than any other time, we gather together family and friends from different backgrounds and with diverse tastes and dietary needs. Allergies and food sensitivities are nothing to fool with, and preparing a tasty meal that respects your guests' health risks will make for a memorable and happy occasion for all. Following are some tips to help you make it through the social season without feeling like a short order cook!

Giving the gift of a gluten-free holiday

Stuffing sans the bread? But of course! Simply make stuffing with a rice or quinoa base instead of bread cubes or crumbs. First, I sauté a few links of spicy Italian sausage, sliced at an angle for a little design flare. Next I add a little garlic, sage, diced red and green bell pepper, onion, carrots and celery. Sauté everything in a little olive oil until the vegetables are slightly translucent, then throw in a splash of wine (my personal choice is Skinny Vine's Slim Chardonnay at only 86 calories per 5 oz. glass -- I sip on it as I cook; after all the holiday cook deserves a little guiltless indulgence every now and then!)

While my veggies are marrying themselves to the amazing flavour of my fave wine, I start cooking my rice. You can use white rice, brown rice, or quinoa, whatever you have in your pantry. Once the rice is cooked simply toss into the veggie mixture. For fun, you can toss in sliced almonds, dried cranberries or diced apple (honeycrisp is my recommendation because they taste insanely wonderful).

Lactose-free mashed potatoes made with love.

How could a holiday meal be a holiday meal without those delectable mashed spuds? It can't! What is a holiday host or hostess to do if entertaining folks with a lactose allergy or intolerance? Swap out the cream, butter and all dairy for mayo. Yes, you heard me right...hail, hail to marvellous mayo. I love it, I love it, I love it. So smooth, so creamy, yet no milk or lactose involved in its creation. And believe you me, it's amazing folded into mashed potatoes. Here is how I pull off my "dairy-free holiday mashed spuds." Mash or use a ricer to deconstruct those cute little Yukons. Next, throw in one half cup chicken broth, one cup mayonnaise, fresh minced thyme, sage or rosemary, salt and pepper. Using a rubber spatula gently fold in all the additions until they are well combined into your potatoes. Serve warm.

Vegetarian/vegan holiday meal

There is really no way around making two main dishes unless all of your guests are vegetarian. I propose a simple Italian solution....just as my grandfather Luigi would say, "make some lasagna and fuhgetaboutit!" Over the years I've noticed that most of my friends and clients who are vegetarian also like to eat gluten-free, thus the inception of my yumm-o-licious roasted vegetable lasagna. It's made with layers of extra-thinly sliced potato, eggplant, zucchini, onion, my homemade pesto and goat cheese. (By the way, most people who are lactose-intolerant can eat goat cheese without any issues. Cha-ching!)

Although this recipe might sound painstakingly difficult given the "extra thin" sliced vegetables, it's really über simple if you invest in a mandoline -- no, not the musical instrument, it's a kitchen gadget, people! I have a super mega-cool mandoline that I bought from Williams Sonoma for a zillion dollars (well...$150 really, but it was expensive). Given that I'm always cooking, teaching cooking classes or developing recipes, it was an investment. The good news is you can find a decent mandolin in the kitchen gadget section of your local supermaket for around $10. This tool will slice the potatoes, zucchini, eggplant, and onion in a snap. If you want to try my Roasted Vegetable Lasagna recipe, see below. By the way, it pairs well with my beloved Skinny Vine Slim Chardonnay!

Buon Appetito! ;)

Christine's Roasted Vegetable Lasagna
(Serves 10)

Olive oil for greasing the dish
6 medium red potatoes, very thinly sliced
Christine's Pesto (see below)
Sea Salt
¾ pound eggplant (about 1 large), unpeeled and thinly sliced
2 medium golden zucchini, thinly sliced
1 large red or yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 jar (24 ounces) marinara sauce
12 ounces soft goat cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 2-quart baking dish with olive oil. Arrange half the potato slices in the dish. Season each potato with a small drop of the pesto. Top each potato with a slice of eggplant, zucchini, and onion. Using half of the goat cheese, place a bit of cheese onto the top of each vegetable stack. Pour half of the marinara over everything. Make a second layer of potatoes, pesto, vegetables, and sauce. Lastly, drop mini dollops of the remaining 6 ounces of goat cheese over the top of the lasagna.

Cover the dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until the lasagna is bubbling and the top has browned, about 10 minutes.

Nutrition facts per serving: 297 calories, 12 grams protein, 35 grams carbohydrates, 13 grams fat

Christine's Pesto
(makes about ½ cup)

2 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves
½ cup grated Parmeson cheese
¼ cup pine nuts
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 garlic clove, crushed with the side of a knife
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and ground black pepper

Combine the basil, cheese, pine nuts, cayenne and garlic in a food processor or blender. With the machine running, slowly pour in the oil. Blend until mixture looks bright green and thick, about 45 seconds. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Nutrition facts per tablespoon: 71 calories, 1 gram protein, 1 gram carbohydrates, 7 grams fat (mostly good fats!)


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Don’t Overindulge This Holiday Season

1. Enjoy some active family time!
The holidays are about getting together with loved ones we don't get enough time with in our day-to-day lives, right? Rather than sitting around the table in a turkey coma, awkwardly running out of small talk and mindlessly helping yourself to a third helping of dessert, how about a game of touch football, visiting a local rock wall or simply going for a walk in the neighbourhood? A board game like Cranium will exercise your brain and get you away from the leftovers! Not only that, physical activity and mental distractions will help dissolve stress for the host and hostess and should placate any strained family dynamics.

2. Think outside the box.
This not only means avoiding pre-packaged, processed foods like dehydrated dressing and frozen prepared perogies (between the preservatives and the inevitable added sodium and sugars, they're just not good for you!), but also cutting the calories in your classic holiday favourites. Read up on how to make substitutions of healthier ingredients in your recipes that will achieve just as tasty results, or find new ones like my Butternut Squash Soup with Niman Ranch Bacon Bits or Fire-Roasted Salsa Verde with Skinny Chips

3. Eating out doesn't have to mean pigging out.
During the holidays, we have a lot more social obligations -- office parties, book club outings, guests from out of town who want to treat us to a special dinner...it's even harder than usual to keep a handle on our intake. Firstly, start the day off with a low-fat lean protein and healthy carb combo and eat regular snacks or meals every four hours before you go out. It'll set you up for the rest of the day so you don't end up with a crashing metabolism. A lot of people make the mistake of "saving up" their calories all day before going out to dinner and then feel justified in feasting indiscriminately.

4. STOP EATING when you're full!
Much more easily said than done when the table in front of you is laden with freshly-made, steaming dishes, some of which are reserved for special occasions such as this! However, at the end of the day if you can't button your shirt, have to consume a whole bottle of antacids before you can fall asleep and experience physical pain, is it really worth it? Practice mindful eating and not only will you enjoy all the pleasures of that lovingly cooked meal, you'll have more leftovers which can go in the freezer to be brought out for the end of a hectic workday weeks later.

5. Give it a rest.
Some people try to squeeze every ounce of partying and visiting they can into the holidays. Workaholics become "wake-aholics." The truth is, getting enough sleep is key to overall health and wellness, not to mention your ability to maintain your ideal weight. Think about it -- when you're on the go but having a hard time focusing because you've been burning the candle at both ends, you reach for a rapid sugar-spike, right?How about using the time away from the office to re-balance your lifestyle and look after yourself? Sleep well, eat well and enjoy what the holiday has to offer, without the drama.

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Five Ways to Stay Healthy on Halloween

For most of us, Halloween is synonymous with massive consumption of sugar and orange food colouring. Candy corn, anyone? Thirty-nine grams of these little cavity-kernels contains 28 grams of sugar and 36 grams of carbohydrates. Refined sugar belongs in the category of "white death" that all simple carbohydrates inhabit -- eating too many of them has been directly linked to weight gain, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, bone loss, tooth decay and even mood swings and hypertension, among other things. However, you can't be expected to substitute your favourite candy bar with an apple on a holiday that practically demands your participation in this candy orgy. So what's a Skinny Chick to do? Here are some tips that will keep you from blasting off on a sugar high that will have your dentist rubbing his hands together in evil glee.

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1. Go for small sweets. Typical shell-outs with less than 50 calories are a mini 3 Musketeers bar, Chuppa Chups Lollipop, a roll of Pez Candy, one mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cup or one Kraft caramel, a mini Hershey's Milk Chocolate or Kit Kat bar, a mini Snickers or Butterfinger, a strawberry-flavoured Twizzler. FYI, the 'fun size' of most popular candy bars has more than double the calorie count of a mini! And beware of those Cadbury 'Screme' Eggs, which cost you a frightening 170 calories each!

2. Add fiber to your favourites
Of course, the apple in the classic candy apple is a good source of fiber and vitamin C, but how about cereal squares made with a couple of spoonfuls of all-bran? That perennial fall favourite, pumpkin is also a good source of fiber and vitamin A and its smooth, sweet flavour is terrific in cookies, dessert loaves, tarts and even the roasted seeds make a tasty Halloween snack.
Popcorn makes a great low-calorie, high-fiber treat for both kids and adults!

3. Harness the power of pre-packaged portion control
Finally, brand marketing managers are catching on to the fact that consumers want some better choices in the grocery store without feeling deprived, and are packaging both sweet and savoury snacks in handy 100-calorie portions. You'll find everything from Pringles to Oreos to Turkey Jerky in these snack pack sizes - the advantage is that the indulgence is controlled. Just remember that the small package isn't a license to eat 10 at a time!

4. Dark is delicious
Dark chocolate -- that is, anything with 70% or more cocoa content -- can be an acquired taste for those who've known nothing but milk chocolate with added sugar all their lives. Once you've experienced the smooth richness just one ounce of decadent dark chocolate provides, with its anti-oxidant and cholesterol-lowering benefits to boot, you'll be hooked. Just one small piece of a premium brand can satisfy your sweet tooth and elevate your mood a whole lot sooner, with a lot less damaging fat and additives.

5. Indulge
Halloween is as much an excuse for adults to have a party these days as it is for kids, yet anyone who is trying to watch calories is probably already getting anxious about December's holiday feasting. It is possible to be festive without falling off the wagon! I don't advocate the eat-tonight-starve-tomorrow mentality anyway -- if you really want a treat, enjoy a small portion of the exact thing you're craving.

Otherwise you're bound to eat twice as much of whatever else is at hand, and though the substitute may technically be "healthier," you'll still feel unsatisfied, not to mention miserable. If you are the social host, though, that means you are in control. Remember, there are healthier ways to make delicious party foods -- check out my recipes for Santorini Lemon-Feta Dip and Whole Wheat Pita chips, Fire-Roasted Salsa Verde with Skinny Chips, Ole Guacamole and low-fat, low-sugar pumpkin bread, not to mention my Espresso Martini, Mojito Flaquito, Pomelo Martini and Skinny Pomegranate Bellinis! You'll find all these recipes and many more in my books, "Skinny Chicks Don't Eat Salads" and "Skinny Chicks Eat Real Food."

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Five Ways to Cut the Fat this Thanksgiving

Turducken and Gooducken -- turkey or goose, respectively, stuffed with a duck which is, in turn, stuffed with a chicken -- may sound like excess, but a chef in Devon, U.K. boasts having made a multi-bird roast using up to 12 types of fowl! This monstrous feast served 125, took eight hours to cook and, had 50 thousand calories all told. That's 400 calories per person, without the gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, casseroles, pumpkin pie, wine...

Studies show that the average person consumes 3,000 to 4,500 calories at a traditional (single bird!) thanksgiving dinner. That's up to double the amount most people should eat in one day! Let's do the math on a few more conservative choices: One glass of wine, one cracker with cheese (who does that?) and half a cup of mixed, raw veggies as an appetizer, three cups of salad with low-fat dressing, six ounces of white and dark turkey, half a cup of stuffing, half a cup of mashed potatoes without gravy or even a pat of butter and one slice of pumpkin pie comes to 1165 calories. According to About.com, you'll be walking 11.65 miles, or 23,300 steps to work that one off!

American Thanksgiving is widely known for its beginnings in 1621 in Plymouth where, having experienced a successful growing season, the Pilgrims gathered to share a 3-day celebration of the harvest with the Native Americans. However, thanksgiving services were documented as early as the beginning of that century. Abraham Lincoln declared it an official "day of thanksgiving and praise" in 1863.

Thanksgiving in Canada originated with Martin Frobisher, who had endured harrowing weather and perilous icebergs crossing the Atlantic from England in his endeavor to forge a Northwest Passage to the Pacific. In 1578 after surviving his third such journey, Frobisher hosted a feast of thanks in what is now known as Nunavut. The tradition grew as settlers from France, Germany, Scotland and Ireland arrived and colonized Canada, bringing with them their native traditions. The foods that constituted the feast were, naturally, taken from the settlers' own harvested crops and included large pots of baked beans, meat pies, fruit pies, squash, turnips, home-made pickles and salads. Turkey doesn't appear to have been part of the festivities in Canada until the later 1800s!

So, at first glance the traditional thanksgiving turkey dinner appears innocent enough -- turkey is one of the leaner sources of protein, lots of healthy vegetables and fruits are available. That is until we pour on the gravy, cream sauces and melted cheese or, God forbid, deep fry that poor innocent bird!

A popular cooking method in the southern United States, Canadian Chef Michael Smith offers his version on the FoodNetwork.ca website with the following caveat: "Make sure the fryer is positioned well away from any children, teenagers, pets or flammable structures." If seeing that at the beginning of a recipe doesn't raise alarm bells, maybe this will: 1 serving (1/16th of a 12 pound bird) of deep-fried turkey contains 603 calories, 33.6 grams of fat and 228 mg of cholesterol. In actual fact, that's not far off an equal portion of roast turkey.

If you really would rather not wake up next Tuesday with a tryptophan hangover and a shock when you step on the scale, here are a few tips for trimming the fat, Skinny Chicks style:

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1) Turkey is one of the leanest sources of protein available, so you want to prepare it in a way that doesn't turn it into an oil sponge. The simplest way to avoid extra calories is to leave the skin on the plate. In my book, Skinny Chicks Don't Eat Salads, you'll find a recipe for Baked Turkey, Sweet Potato and Steamed Broccoli that boasts 32 grams of protein and just 6 grams of fat for only 396 calories.

2) Most modern-day thanksgiving meals begin or end with alcohol, and some connoisseurs will pair a wine with each course. Not only does alcohol impair the liver's ability to metabolize fatty acids, it diminishes will-power! A two-ounce glass of the best wine you can afford sipped slowly shouldn't dampen your holiday spirit or throw a bucket of water on your weight loss.

3) There are plenty of tasty ways to prepare fresh vegetables that are probably closer to the methods the original settlers used, without the rich and caloric additions our culture tends to glorify in the name of gastronomy. Not only are fresh-cut, steamed vegetables crisper and brighter in colour, they retain far more of the nutrients that satisfy your body's health needs.

4) So much of what defines the North American Thanksgiving Dinner is about the "extras" -- the cranberry sauce, warm crescent rolls dripping with butter, nuts, pickles, celery stuffed with cream cheese, chips, cheese and crackers and of course, the gravy. Sadly, these add-ons may enhance the meal both visually and taste-wise, but they really add on the pounds. Returning to the handy-dandy calorie calculator from About.com we used earlier but choosing only the "extras" listed above, the astounding total is 1,405 calories of basically nutrient-free fat-snacks! No holiday is an excuse to eat everything in sight -- think before putting food mindlessly in your mouth and remember, it all adds up!

5) Desserts...ah, the pumpkin pie with whipped cream, the deep dish apple pie with ice cream, the nanaimo bars, the plates of cookies, fudge and brownies...divine decadence, or too much of a good thing? Temptations are everywhere and all I can do is encourage you to check out the recipes in both of my books Skinny Chicks Don't Eat Salad and Skinny Chicks Eat Real Food. They include delightful concoctions such as Raspberry Chambord Trifle, Hi-Protein Pumpkin Ginger Pancakes, White Peach and Bing Cherry Cobbler and even low-fat, low-sugar versions of pumpkin bread, cheesecake and banana bread.

Remember, thanksgiving may be only once a year, but so is Christmas, Valentines Day, Easter, your birthday, your anniversary...there are a million and one reasons to celebrate with food, but one very good reason to think like a Skinny Chick...your health!
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Back By Popular Demand

After multiple emails, phone calls, facebook posts and tweets, I’ve listened to your requests and I’m bringing back my recipes for all my Skinny Chicks.

Check my site every Monday for a new recipe posted just for you.

http://www.christineavanti.com/recipes

Try them out and don’t forget to share them, tweet them, pin them…but most of all, enjoy them!

xoxoxo
Christine

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12 Tips to Get a Sexy Beach Body

Spring is almost over and bikini season is here! That means we basically have only four weeks to get "Brooklyn Decker"-ready. (Side note: if you don't know who she is, do yourself a favour and don't Google her. It is kind of depressing unless you're a supermodel.)

C'mon let's be honest, if you're going to hit the beach, you don't want to look like a blowfish who did a five-day Atkins crash diet -- a smaller, puffy version of your former self. Because believe you me, that's exactly what you will get! Been there. Done that! I have the deflated booty stretch marks to remind me of my former yo-yo dieting days that I gave up on over a decade ago.

Don't pout, there is hope for those of you who did not come out of the womb with a Sports Illustrated bikini body. Not matter what size, shape or height you are, it is possible to look toner, leaner, and more physically fit in just four short weeks if you do it right. I've even seen it happen for women going through menopause who would gain weight by simply looking at a piece of pizza. Total body transformation? No. You will probably not see yourself go from a size 26 to a size 8 in just four weeks -- HELLO you are not naive enough to believe that anyway! But you might see a reduced muffin top, no more bloating, and drop a few sizes. That is, if you commit to the following tips 100 per cent for the next four to five weeks.

The following are tried-and-true diet and fitness tips that actually work for my readers, clients, and me personally.




EAT BIKINI-FRIENDLY FOODS
TIP 1 -- EAT COCONUT OIL Eat it, breathe it, smell it -- swim in it for goodness sakes! OK, maybe I'm a bit overzealous about coconut oil, but it's for good reason. The stuff works!

THE SKINNY:
This is kind of old news, but obesity researchers at McGill University found that medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), the type found in coconuts, actually use up energy when they are metabolized. The calories the body uses to oxidize the fatty acids in coconut oil is greater than the calories they provide. KAACHING! So it's possible to burn more calories digesting coconut oil than you get from eating it. Dr. David Brownstein uses coconut oil as a part of his weight loss program at the Center for Holistic Medicine in West Bloomfield, MI.

One final fascinating fact about coconut oil: The primary fatty acid in coconut oil, lauric acid, which is highly antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal, is also found in human breast milk -- which, let's face it, is the perfect food!

TIP 2 -- EAT ARTICHOKES These beautiful vegetable flowers (as I call them) are amazingly filling and are inexpensive right now because they are in season!

THE SKINNY:
Artichokes contain inulin, which is a type of carbohydrate that has been shown to decrease the hunger hormone, ghrelin. Artichokes also have active compounds called caffeoylquinic acids or cynarin, which are found in highest concentrations in the leaves but are also available in the hearts. These liver-friendly compounds found in artichokes prevent the build-up of fat and toxins in the liver, reduce gallstone formation during weight loss, promote growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestines, and act as a gentle laxative by increasing bile secretion. I know, I had you at "laxative" right? Me too! Wink, wink.

TIP 3 -- EAT DANDELION GREENS Buca, a cool little Italian hot spot in Toronto, is serving the most delicious dandelion green salad right now. These slightly bitter greens pair well with a sweet dressing such as reduced balsamic fig vinaigrette. I also use them in my infamous "Veggie Detox Shots" recipe in my new book (originally created as a hang over cure) -- they are good, green, and packed with bikini-friendly nutrition.

THE SKINNY:
These edible weeds are not just ugly lawn intruders -- they are spring leaves packed with vitamins A, B, C, D, and fiber. If you know anything about nutrition, you know that all those nutrients help with... you guesses it, WEIGHT LOSS. BTW, skinny people love dandelion greens because they work as a natural diuretic to help reduce bloating and detox the body. Coolest of all, dandelions contain taraxacin, a chemical that is thought to speed up fat digestion and liver sluggishness. I don't know about you, but I'm in the market for a dandelion field!

INCORPORATE REAL FOODS INTO YOUR DAILY DIET
TIP 4 -- Shop the outer perimeter of the grocery store.
TIP 5 -- Read your labels; look for foods that are high in fiber and low in sugar.
TIP 6 -- Choose foods that offer healthy fats such as omega-3 like cage-free eggs and olive oils.
TIP 7 -- Build each meal starting with a lean protein, next add a healthy carb such as fresh produce, and always consume at least 16 ounces of water with each meal.
TIP 8 -- Consume grass-fed or free-range meats as often as possible.
TIP 9 -- Consume a fermented food or beverage once a day or take a daily probiotic. Fermented foods include: coconut kefir, dairy kefir, kombucha tea, homemade sauerkraut, kimchi (made without MSG).
TIP 10 -- Consume foods high in omega-3 fatty acids daily, or take an omega-3 supplement. Omega-3 rich foods include: fatty fish, flaxseeds, walnuts, chia seeds and raw tofu.

TIP 11 -- STEER CLEAR OF FAKE FOODS
Avoid all foods that are made from refined sugars, refined flours, refined salts, and refined fats. They slow down metabolism, increase hunger, and disrupt sleep patterns.

TIP 12 -- EXERCISE AS IF YOU LOVE IT It is incredible the difference a little exercise will make. Start exercising a minimum of 30 minutes every day and you will see quick results. The weather is getting really nice, so now is the perfect time to take up an outdoor sport or simply meeting a friend for a daily walk/chat session. Oh, and if you are in a total rush to see some pounds drop, I highly recommend a hot yoga class. Although you will lose mostly water, it's a great way to get addicted to sweating and see a lower number on that dreaded bathroom scale.

See you at the beach, hotties!
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