Sunday, November 30, 2008

Lighten up!

Hello y'all! To my fellow USA'ers, I hope you had a wonderful everyone else, I hope you had a great work. Hee! I LOVE to cook and Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I love waking up in the morning with my game plan ready- knowing which dish to start cooking first to ensure everything comes together by 1:00pm. This year, I clocked in at 12:54- whew! Just made it with 6 minutes to get myself cleaned up before our guests arrived. Thankfully, they were a little late since I have yet to perfect my Wonder Woman spinning change technique.

I know how difficult it is to resist stuffing yourself to the brim with all the delicious Thanksgiving fare. I love to cook because I love to eat! However, the nutritionally educated side of me does always kick in- I do have to practice what I preach! So, for each dish, I do try to lighten it up as much as I can without sacrificing taste. One of the places I turn to to new recipes is Cooking Light. I have been subscribing to that magazine for about 8 years now- I love their recipes and I love that they provide nutrition information for everything! I have made their Streuseled Sweet Potato Casserole since I first saw the recipe 6 years ago. It's one of my husband's favorite dishes and I get requests for the recipe every time I serve it to others. Phenomenal!

One of my favorite dishes has always been Pumpkin Pie- I.LOVE.IT. I use Libby's canned 100% pumpkin- I love that they don't add any salt or sugar- it's just pure pumpkin. I also use their traditional Pumpkin Pie recipe from their cans- with a few tweaks. I use Evaporated SKIM milk instead of evaporated whole milk. Also, instead of sugar, I use Splenda. I do tend to swap Splenda for sugar for most things I bake. Splenda will prevent proper rising of baked goods, so I will sometimes use half sugar half Splenda if the dish didn't rise sufficiently the first time around. I like that Splenda has zero calories, can be swapped equally for sugar (no conversions needed) and tastes almost exactly like sugar. I don't like it in my coffee because I can taste the difference- I do love it in my oatmeal, though.

Just by swapping out those 2 ingredients, I save a whopping 95 calories PER SLICE of pie! The regular Libby's pie has 250 calories per slice. My lightened version- 155!! (I use a plain ol' frozen pie crust....though I like making things from scratch, I do take few selected short sue me.) Since I didn't know if my guests would balk at a "diet" pie, I made one regular pie (with the skim milk, though- 224 calories per slice) and one "diet" pie. I had my guests do a taste test and they could not tell the difference between the "real" pie and the "diet" pie. Their waistlines, however, could.

Nutritional breakdown per slice of pie (for standard 9" pie crust, 8 slices per pie):

155 calories
6.5 g protein
6.3 g fat
18 g carbohydrate
1.5 g fiber
162 mg calcium
11,991 IU vit. A (almost 3 times the daily recommend value!)

To shave off 5 grams of fat and 45 calories, eat the pie filling and not the crust....though a tasty crust is part of the Pumpkin Pie experience...

This is just one of the ways I lighten up my Thanksgiving meal. Even though most of my dishes aren't as calorific as their traditional counterparts, I do have to employ portion control- too much food- even "lite" food- is not good dietary practice.

Well, it's just about lunch time for me- time to bring out all the tasty leftovers and enjoy the fruits of my labor. Have a wonderful weekend!


  1. I think the leftovers taste even better! Yum! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Absolutely! Finding creative ways to use up the leftover turkey is one of my favorite post-Thanksgiving endeavors! I'm making a Paella tomorrow with some of the turkey I froze. YUM!