Tag Archives: Holiday

Making a Healthy(er) Pumpkin Pie

5 Jan

Pumpkin Pie and healthy aren’t two words that typically go together well. Pie, in it of itself brings on feelings hefty calories. But for me, I must have pumpkin pie this time of year. So I did a lot of searching a couple of years ago, and came across a recipe from Hungry Girl. Surprising to me, pumpkin is actually a great food if you’re watching your waistline.  It’s naturally very low in fat and also rich in vitamins and minerals. It’s the eggs, sugar and thick buttery crust that adds all the extra fat, calories, and ups your sugar intake to keep you up into the wee hours of the night – after your turkey coma, of course! So next year when you get that hankering for a sweet, creamy, pumpkin pie, try this alternative.

Combine pure pumpkin (not to be confused with pumpkin pie filling), evaporated fat-free milk, splenda (sometimes I use half sugar, half sugar substitute, and other times, I use full sugar), and egg whites. I use egg whites instead of the egg substitute since I don’t care for products like that. Then add the syrup, pumpkin pie spice, and salt to the mixture. The mixture will appear very thin, but don’t worry.

And now…the crust debate:

Hungry Girl uses a crust using their popular secret ingredient, ground up fiber one cereal. However, I don’t care for the consistency, so I use ready-made pie crust from the store. Its convenient, and no-fuss. I know its going to bake right and I like it for those reasons. However, when I made this pie on Christmas Day, I forgot to bring the crust over to my parent’s house. In two years, this was the fifth pie I had made there and was use to the ingredients I needed to bring and the ones my parents had on hand. Whoops!

I discovered this mistake on Christmas Eve, so we had planned to go to the store in the morning. Nothing was open when hubby went – he checked five different stores, four different shopping areas — only Starbucks was open (haha!). So my dad decided to surprise us and make a crust. While all the women in the house were out of the kitchen, he tried his hand at his first ever pie crust. You see, my dad is the number one fan of this pumpkin pie. I think he likes it better than any full fat, gourmet, restaurant, or even…yikes…Costo’s pumpkin pie! I was skeptical since my dad is a steak guy – and a great steak guy at that. Put him on the grill, making potatoes, or gravy, and it will taste amazing. Pastry chef? Not so much. Here’s what he turned out:

And into the pie shell went the pumpkin pie mixture. For reference, this dish is a 9 inch pan.

We’ve learned to time this with eating dinner and put the pie in when the holiday meat of choice (turkey, prime rib roast, etc) comes out of the oven. The pie takes about 45 minutes. We let meat rest for about 20 minutes. And take out the pie towards the end of our meal. By the time we’re ready for dessert, pie has been cooling on the counter for about an hour. Although Hungry Girl recommends chilling in the fridge for several hours or even overnight, we indulge ourselves in the pie within two hours of it coming out of the oven.

The reason for the bubbles on the pie is because of the crust. The crust wasn’t too bad – just a simple sweet pie crust. Maybe one of these days I’ll experiment with a healthy pie crust too? Remember to refrigerate the leftovers. This pie serves as a great breakfast the day after as well…!

So is this a healthy pumpkin pie – you do the math:

Regular Pumpkin Pie
Serving Size: 1 slice
Calories: 400
Fat: 18g

Hungry Girl’s version (with fiber one crust)
Serving Size: 1 slice
Calories: 133
Fat: 3g

My version of Hungry Girl’s version of Pumpkin Pie (estimated)
Serving Size: 1 slice
Calories: 200
Fat: 6g

Recipe Lovers:

For Filling
One 15-oz. can pure pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
One 12-oz. can evaporated fat-free milk
3/4 cup Splenda No Calorie Sweetener, granulated
1/2 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute (like Egg Beaters)
1/4 cup sugar-free maple syrup
1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt
Optional Topping: Fat Free Reddi-wip

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75% off Clearance at Walmart

5 Jan

My local Walmart has 75% off Christmas clearance. I know what you are thinking…its all picked over. Not my store! There was at least 3 complete aisles of decor, stockings, lights, tree skirts, ornaments, etc. There were also a bunch of “gifts” marked down to – including massaging slippers for $2.86.

They even had 6.5 foot trees marked down to $5. I picked up 4 packs of HD icicle lights for $2.99 each. Also, there were some other aisles with gift baskets, candy canes, and other gift-like items marked down 50% off. Better Homes and Gardens makes bars that melt in Scentsy warmers for $2. So I picked up one to try out for $1 on sale. The scent is called, “Ginger Spice Cake.” It smells so good.

Our cashier told us that another lady had come in earlier that day and bought 40 boxes of lights for $0.67/each!

So, if you have time tonight or tomorrow, visit a non-centrally located WalMart and hope the shelves are still stocked. Or even better, call that friend who lives out in the middle of nowhere and tell them about the deal!

My Cranberry Holiday Salad

29 Dec

About a week before Thanksgiving, I decided to grab a bag of fresh cranberries at the store. My original thought was to make a cranberry sauce, but that was to easy for me. So I began to look for a recipe that included fresh cranberries and gelatin…because now it was two days before Thanksgiving and I was not going to the store for a package of jello. Luckily I had some orange juice on hand and began my experiment. First, I rinsed the berries.

Before I added the cranberries to a pot, I wanted to let my gelatin bloom. I added three packets of gelatin to 1/2 cup of very cold water. This makes for a super ugly photo. But to show you, it will look like a off-white paste. Don’t stir, just let it sit until you need it.

Next, I added 2 cups of water to a medium saucepan. Then I added the berries to the water and turned the heat to medium-high.

Once the cranberries started to pop, I added 2 cups of sugar to the mix. I stirred the mixture frequently to make sure the berries were popping right. They don’t make a popping sound, but they will become noticeably softer.

I also added some orange juice to infuse the cranberries as they softened too. I then grabbed some lemon juice and zest to give the sauce some zip as well. It was tangy and perfectly sweet and I was starting to get excited. Now it was time to add the gelatin/water mixture. It will be like a thick paste. Try to get as much of it in the pan as possible. Meanwhile, I only had a can of chopped pineapple on hand. Turns out most recipes call for crushed pineapple. So I crushed it with a wooden spoon…perfect. I reserved the pineapple juice in a glass, in case I needed it later.

Then I chopped up one red apple. I love my apple corer/slicer. If you don’t have one, be sure to invest in a stainless steel model. Plastic just won’t hold up.

I carefully added the apples to the now very full pot of cranberries. I think I needed a bigger pot…what do you think?

After the apples had incorporated into the mixture, I removed the saucepan from the heat and added them to the crushed pineapple.

After stirring the mixture together and tasting it, I felt like it needed something else. So I added the reserved pineapple juice. And then I caught a glance of my homemade marshmallows on the counter. What a great addition!

So I chopped up the marshmellows and added them to the still warm mixture.

So they quickly melted. Whoops. Gotta remember that for next time.

I gave it a final approval taste and poured it into a smaller bowl to refrigerate and jell together. Note to self, buy jello mold for prettier outcome!

After the jello had set overnight, I needed to make sure it came back out. I found a great solution. First, turn on your sink to the hottest that your water will run. Then, fill up a slightly larger bowl with hot water in the sink. Remove the plastic wrap from the jello. Carefully place/hold the bowl of jello in the warm water for about 30 seconds. Then, take an offset spatula, plastic knife, or other long and flexible utensil. Next, place a large, flat plate on top of the bowl. Firmly grasp the bowl and plate with bowl hands, and in one quick, swift, cautious movement, flip the bowl over.

This jello gets better the longer it sets up. We first ate it about 24 hours later. When my husband had it the day after, he liked it more than on Thanksgiving. So if you have a chance to make it more than 24 hours in advance, do it!

Recipe Lovers:

1 12 oz bag fresh cranberries
2 cups sugar
3 packets gelatin (4 packets come in one box, usually)
2 cups water
1/2 cup cold water for gelatin
1 can chopped or crushed pineapple, juice reserved
2 cups orange juice
1 red apple
1 tbsp lemon juice
Lemon zest to taste
Marshmallows, optional

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