Friday, August 21, 2009

"Dolce Vita" Tiramisu

This is my first "Begrudgingly Healthy" entry, and we're starting with sweets! Some people can eat their way through bags of potato chips and Lil' Smokies, but for me...give me a bakery and a few hours and I'll be in heaven. Scones, carrot cake, muffins, tarts, lady-finger cookies, cobblers, madeleines, crisps, brownies, croissants, stop me now or I'll reach the blogspot word limit. Basically if left unchecked, I would turn into Augustus Gloop. Throw me in Willy Wonka's chocolate river and up the pipe, I'll see you in a few hours!

I decided that the first unhealthy food to take on would be tiramisu. To me there's no better dessert after a delicious Italian meal than a light yet creamy, sweet yet sharp tiramisu. Plus it has espresso and/or sweet liqueur, so where can it go wrong? Unfortunately it also is full of fat and sugar. Traditional tiramisu recipes call for egg yolks, sugar, mascarpone cheese, heavy whipping cream, and more sugar. The following recipe is extraordinarily low in fat and sugar, so I won't lie and say it's the most delicious thing I've ever eaten. If you eat it, you will be able to tell it is a reduced fat and low sugar creation. It's a major pet peeve of mine when people flat-out refuse to eat reduced fat or low sugar options simply because "It doesn't taste right, I can tell it's fake!". Well no kidding Ms. Supertaster, of course it won't be quite AS amazing when done healthily, but it is definitely a great replacement for those of us who don't want to be gordos for the rest of our lives. Without further ado, I give you the Dolce Vita Tiramisu!

1 regular sized (approx 9 oz.) sugar free angel food cake
1 envelope (0.82 ounce) General Foods International 100 Calorie Cafe Mocha Cappuccino mix
1 envelope (0.78 ounce) General Foods International 100 Calorie French Vanilla Cappuccino mix
2 cups skim milk
1 (8 ounce) package fat free cream cheese, softened
1 (1 ounce) box sugar free & fat free instant vanilla pudding mix
1 (8 ounce) container Cool Whip FREE whipped topping, thawed
1-2 tablespoons unsweetened dark cocoa powder

1. Cut your angel food cake into a few large pieces, and begin to tear into bite-sized chunks by hand. You can cube using a knife if you'd prefer, but it is much quicker and easier to rip it up. Place half of your chunks into the bottom of a medium sized baking dish. An 8 inch square dish is best, but I used an oval casserole dish with no problems. Set aside.
2. Combine mocha cappuccino mix and 1/2 cup milk in a small microwave-safe dish. Microwave on high 25-35 seconds; stir with a whisk until mix dissolves. Set aside.
3. Place softened cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add 1 cup of milk; beat again until smooth. Add pudding mix; beat until blended together.
4. Combine french vanilla cappuccino mix and remaining 1/2 cup milk in a small microwave-safe dish. Microwave on high 25-35 seconds; stir with a whisk until mix dissolves. Add this vanilla cappuccino mixture to cream cheese/pudding mixture. Mix until combined.
5. Fold in entire container of Cool Whip Free.
6. Pour half of mocha cappuccino mixture over angel food cake in baking dish; top with half of cream cheese pudding mixture. Place remaining cake chunks on top of pudding mixture, and drizzle with remaining mocha cappuccino mixture. Top with remaining cream cheese pudding mixture. Smooth with silicone spatula to create an even and smooth flat surface.
7. Sprinkle dark cocoa through a small sieve (to avoid big chunks) over entire surface of tiramisu. Cover and chill, or if you simply can't wait serve immediately.

This serves approximately 8 people, though you can really make it anywhere from 6-10 servings depending on size. Based on 8 servings, this has approximately 198 calories and 0.5 gram of fat per serving.

What food would you like to see me turn begrudgingly healthy next? I want your ideas!

"We're walking like in a Dolce Vita, this time we've got it right. We're living like in a Dolce Vita, mmm gonna dream tonight..."

Thursday, August 13, 2009

"Here I Go Again"

To those that have been checking regularly for an update to my last post, let me apologize for dropping the ball. Three weeks between posts is far too long, and I will make sure to keep things moving from this point forward. I've got lots of ideas, and I'm still very invested in this blog!

So where am I in the journey? Not altogether surprisingly, I had what I'm calling a false start. A soft launch. I began my program as planned, but as should be expected, life quickly got in the way. I would say I have been doing my program at 50-60%. The application I had decided to use on my iPhone to track calories (called 'Lose It') ended up being extremely tedious to use all day long. I went out of town twice. I had visitors for a few days. I received not one, but two rejection letters from prospective jobs within an hour of each other. I know that to be successful, I must adhere to my plan closer to 90-95% of the time. I'm in no way excusing my actions or lack thereof, I'm simply listing some of the things that I let get in the way of my progress so that I can learn from my mistakes.

Am I disappointed in myself? Yes, a bit. I'm not dwelling on the fact that I'm still at the starting line two and a half weeks into my race. I'm just trying to use this disappointment as a learning experience. I've learned that I very easily let myself get sidetracked. The adage that you must take everything one day at a time has never felt more true. In my case I think I need to make my mantra to take everything "one minute at a time". I caved and ate something I shouldn't? Oh well, that was two minutes ago, time to move on and start fresh. I'm having a great time with friends and had two margaritas (rocks/salt)? Well that was an iffy choice but if it's over and done then I must move on and start fresh...which means no gorging on extra tortilla chips at Blockheads just because I "already messed up". The time for wallowing has passed.

I'm going to ramp back up to 95% over the next few days. I think for calorie tracking I'm going to buy a simple note pad and golf pencil. As much as I love technology and hoped to track using my phone, I think this is one case where an old standard wins out.

Things learned:
Take everything one minute at a time.
Acknowledge, analyze, accept, and then move on.

Weight loss to date: 0 pounds.

"Here I go again on my own. Going down the only road I've ever known. Like a drifter I was born to walk alone. And I've made up my mind, I ain't wasting no more time."

Coming up soon at Finally Losing It: A rant on clothing sizes, an exploration of the Zumba fitness craze, and a 'begrudgingly healthy' tiramisu recipe!