Tag Archives: Vanilla

Try this healthy chocolate milkshake swap

The hardest thing for me to avoid while trying to be healthy is chocolate. It’s a good day if I can make it through my 8 to 5 without sneaking a couple of fun-size pieces from the candy jar at work, but by the end of the evening I’m left craving something sweet.

It took a few attempts (including a failed experiment with a cooled-down mix of melted chocolate and soft tofu) but I finally worked out a chocolate dessert with a calorie count most anyone would be okay with.

You can’t have a chocolate milkshake without the chocolate, but most bottled syrups aren’t the first thing you should reach for. Instead, you can whip up agave chocolate syrup with agave, cocoa powder and a dash of vanilla. The recipe on Spark People yields 1 1/2 cups, or 12 two tablespoon servings.

Two tablespoons of Hershey’s chocolate syrup contains 100 calories and 24 grams of carbohydrates, whereas two tablespoons of agave-cocoa syrup has 81 calories and 18 grams of carbs. Plus it’s only three ingredients, and includes none of these Hershey’s extras: high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, potassium sorbate, mono-and diglycerides, xanthan gum, polysorbate 60 or artificial flavor.

Once you’ve made your own bottle of agave syrup, the rest is easy: Toss 1 frozen banana, 3/4 cup of fat-free milk, 2 T of the agave chocolate syrup and 2 cubes of ice in a blender or Magic Bullet. Make sure everything is mixed until smooth.

If you want an added nutritional boost, throw in some protein powder or a couple of Brazil nuts. You’ll hardly taste them and Brazil nuts are super good for you.

Without the nuts, you’re looking at 260 calories; with them, 323 calories. It’s a big portion, so if you’re only looking for a light snack, I suggest sharing the drink with someone you love.

The shake wins hands down over Frosties from the Wendy’s drive-thru or a couple of scoops at Baskins Robbins, but calorie-wise, Golden Spoon–where I usually end up when my sweet tooth gets the best of me–has this shake beat. A mini there is 100 calories and a small is double that.

But, I’d still take the shake because of the nutritional value the banana and nuts bring to the table. Good in the morning for a breakfast on the go or as an after dinner treat, this recipe has become a staple in my house.

Week 8, Meal 1: Sauteed scallops over butternut squash and pear puree with arugula, pear and hazelnut in honey cider vinaigrette

In his notes to me, Chef Brian described his butternut squash and pear puree as “delicious baby food.”

Really, though, Week 8, Meal 1: Sauteed scallops over butternut squash and pear puree with arugula, pear and hazelnut in honey cider vinaigrette is more than than just Gerber for grown-ups.

It’s luxurious and velvety, sweet and savory, and best of all, it looks like it took some work to make, but it’s one of the easier dishes we’ve done on the blog. Continue reading Week 8, Meal 1: Sauteed scallops over butternut squash and pear puree with arugula, pear and hazelnut in honey cider vinaigrette

Week 4, Meal 2: Cinnamon French toast with blueberry compote

This might surprise you, but I’m not a huge fan of French toast. It’s simple really — pancakes are just better, hands down.

But I’m no pancake magician. Chef Brian gave me a cookbook for Christmas a few years back with his recipe for pancakes, and it’s a recipe that I’ve never been able to replicate.

On the other hand, it was a simple affair putting together Week 4, Meal 2: Cinnamon French toast with blueberry compote.

So, now, because I can actually make this, I’m choosing French toast. Screw you pancakes. Continue reading Week 4, Meal 2: Cinnamon French toast with blueberry compote

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