About Me

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My friends call me the "grammar goddess." Really. ;-) I own a freelance writing, editing and tutoring business. Previously, I served three years as food editor for The Morning Sun in Mt. Pleasant, which kindled my interest in food writing. My other areas of expertise in writing include features, community news, architecture/construction and engraving/personalization. I have a frightening number of cookbooks and watch too many DIY, HGTV, Food Network, Cooking Channel and Antiques Roadshow (BBC and PBS versions) shows. And I tweak nearly every recipe I make.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Cereal Mixing Isn't Just for Kids

The Cascadian Farm Organic Dark Chocolate Almond Granola box looked oh, so innocent (how bad can it be, since it's organic?); however, I knew that unless I did something drastic, I was going to eat more than the measly 2/3-cup suggested serving.

Which led me to my favorite Weight Watchers diva: Lisa Lillen, a.k.a. "Hungry Girl." Lisa has written three cookbooks about her pursuit of satisfying, lower-point food. I learned from reading her first cookbook that cereal mixing is not just for pre-teens anymore. It's a way to eat a larger bowl of cereal for fewer Weight Watcher Points. I'd already done it once, with my all-time favorite EnviroKids Koala Crisp cereal (sweeter, chocolate-flavored rice puffs) and plain puffed brown rice. (The proportions were about half a bowl of each kind of cereal.)

I picked up the bite-sized, unsweetened wheat squares. (I think it was Post's, but it's hard for me to differentiate between different brands ... let's see, was that wheat, wheat or wheat?) Three-quarters of a cup of wheat squares went into the cereal bowl with 1/4-cup granola and Blue Diamond's Almond Breeze® Vanilla  non-dairy beverage (from the refrigerator case in the natural foods section). I usually get the unsweetened kind, but someone grabbed this one by accident. I won't complain since a) it was on sale and b) she was being nice by picking it up for me in the first place. Besides, it makes darned good cafĂ© au laits and smoothies.

I mixed it together thoroughly and dug in. One cup of this mixture not only had the great flavor of the granola but it had a lot more bulk to it. I didn't need to eat again for nearly four hours! If I use unsweetened almond or soy milk another time, I'll probably add stevia to achieve a similar slightly-sweet taste.

Product Review: Dark Chocolate Almond Granola

I was in Kroger a few days ago and saw that the Cascadian Farm Organic Dark Chocolate Almond Granola was about a dollar off, with multiple coupons on it, one for $1.00 off any cereal. I hadn't planned to get cereal, but I'd already picked up Luna Bars on sale. One of the coupons on the package was (I kid you not) a coupon for .75 off two Luna Bars. Needless to say, I bought it, saving about $4 total in the transaction. I plan to repeat the purchase because the sale is still taking place!
Expect subtle flavor from this granola with my favorite dark chocolate and almonds chopped finely enough to enjoy them in nearly every bite. The down side is that 2/3-cup not only has 4.5 g fat, but it also constitutes one serving. I'll address that issue in my next post.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Healthy Eating and Drinking While Out: Part I

I've been engaging in healthy eating (and drinking) in some unexpected places this week.

First, I met a friend at Lil' Chef in Brighton, an institution that was closed in for a while and reopened in a new location. Healthy is not the first thing you think of this local hangout that, when I was the kid, was the only place open after going to a 9 or 10 p.m. movie on the weekends. Regardless, there are some good choices.

If you're in a mood for breakfast, the cooking will make pretty much any egg dish possible with the low-fat egg substitute (basically, egg whites, coloring and a stablizer). If you ask for your eggs with no salt, the staff there also will oblige. Special orders do not upset them. I have gotten a very healthy breakfast there once or twice. You just have to order it the way you want it.

I wasn't in the mood for breakfast, so I asked about the salad. Amazingly enough, when I asked, I learned there were three or four fat-free dressings from which I could choose. There were six salads (not counting your typical side salad) listed. I chose the Michigan Salad, which, strangely enough, didn't have dried cherries in it. I asked for it without the cheese (and should have asked for it without croutons, but I didn't think of it). What I got was salad mix, cherry tomatoes, turkey and evenly-spread real bacon bits with pretty good fat-free honey mustard on the side.

The second place was Starbucks in Milford. I was looking for something decaffeinated without sugar. I hit upon the Tazo Passion iced tea (Starbucks' only caffeine-free iced tea). If you drink it completely unsweetened, your mouth puckers up a bit, so I had my Venti ice tea sweetened with two Splendas. (Next time, hopefully I'll have the stevia packets in my purse.)