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Hearty Healthy Recipes for the Holidays

Here are some filling, and yet still healthy recipes that you can make during the winter months. Enjoy:-)

Delicious Lentil Soup

I had never had lentils before making this soup. I modified the recipe I found in the Daniel Fast Cookbook slightly, so here it is:


3 cups lentils, soaked 2-3 hours

2 quarts water

2 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

3 yellow squashes, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 16 ounce cans diced tomatoes with juice

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 small jalapeno pepper

ground pepper to taste


  1. Heat water in large pan, add lentils and cook covered for 20 minutes. Add salt
  2. While the lentils are cooking, heat oil in large skillet; add onion, celery, carrot and garlic. Sauté until soft, about 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the softened vegetable mixture to the lentils. Add tomatoes, lemon juice and vinegar.; season with pepper.
  4. Bring to boil, then gently simmer uncovered until lentils are very tender, about 30 minutes. If the soup becomes too thick, add a little water.
  5. Before serving, check the seasoning and stir in chopped herbs.

Yield: Six to eight servings.

(Sorry, don’t have a pic of it–I ate it all! lol)

Quick & Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce


1 bag of cranberries, washed

1 cup of raw sugar

1 cup of water

Add all ingredients in a pot, and boil for 5 minutes until the berries pop open.

Approximately 50 servings (1 serving=1 tbsp)

Skinny Down-Home Chicken Pot Pie

Serves 6
Calories per serving: 372

*Courtesy of Cook Yourself Thin*







3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 leek, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk
2 red potatoes, skin on, diced
2 turnips, peeled and diced
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into small cubes
2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into small cubes
1 bay leaf

2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
6 sheets of phyllo dough
1 tablespoon olive oil, for brushing

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Thaw 6 sheets of phyllo dough overnight in the refrigerator or one hour before using. Bring the chicken stock to a simmer and keep warm.

2. In a 6-quart pot, add the olive oil and flour, and cook until lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, leek, carrot, celery, red potato and turnips, and stir with a wooden spoon, making sure the bottom does not get too dry. Add the chicken, bay leaf and thyme, and continue stirring for about 3 minutes, so that everything is coated with the flour mixture.

3. Add the warm chicken stock, stir and scrape the bottom of the pot to get all the color into the mixture and keep it from scorching. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Let the mixture simmer, covered, for another 5 to 7 minutes, until it becomes thick and the chicken is opaque. Remove from heat and reserve.

4. Meanwhile, take 6 sheets of phyllo dough and, with a knife, cut out a square slightly larger than the rim of a 9-x-9-inch cake pan and brush with some olive oil. Set aside.

5. Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs from the chicken mixture and transfer the chicken to the cake pan. Top with the phyllo dough and press it down firmly with your hands. Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, turning the tray around halfway through the cooking time. Remove from the oven, let cool for 10 minutes, cut into six portions and serve.


“”Cook Yourself Thin” Recipe Guide –” Dec. 2011..

Gregory, Susan. The Daniel Fast Cookbook. 2009 ed. Vol. 2. PDF.

Kumai, Candice, Harry Eastwood, and Allison Fishman. Cook Yourself Thin: Skinny Meals You Can Make in Minutes. New York: Hyperion, 2009.

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Happy National Cupcake Day!

Before you binge on high-calorie and fattening store bought or boxed cupcakes, try one of these recipes, courtesy of ­Cook Yourself Thin!



Vanilla Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes
Calories per serving: 204

For the frosting
3 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
Pinch salt
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon

For the cupcakes
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup finely ground almonds
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups peeled zucchini, finely grated

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. To make the frosting: Combine the egg whites, sugar, salt and vanilla extract in a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a pan of simmering water. Stir continuously over heat until the mixture is warm and the sugar is completely dissolved, 1 to 2 minutes.

3. Remove the bowl from the heat. Using a handheld electric or standing mixer set on high, beat until the mixture is entirely cooled, glossy and stiff, about 7 minutes. Blend in the lemon zest until smooth — once smooth, take care not to overbeat or the mixture will get lumpy. Let frosting set and cool in the refrigerator (at least 30 minutes), while making the cupcakes.
4. To make the cupcakes: Arrange a rack in the center of the oven. Line a 12-muffin pan with cupcake liners.

5. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, almonds and baking powder; set aside. In another bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla with a handheld or standing mixer until thick and light-colored, about 4 minutes. Beat in the zucchini on low speed until fully incorporated.

6. Add the dry ingredients and beat on low speed until fully incorporated, scraping down the bowl once with a spatula during beating. Use a 1/3-cup measure to spoon into the muffin cups.

7. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes, turning the pan midway through baking. Transfer cupcakes out onto a wire rack and cool completely before icing with the chilled frosting.


Mint Chocolate Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes
Calories per serving: 336

For the cupcakes
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 heaping cup peeled and finely grated sweet potato
1/2 cup finely ground almonds
3/4 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Dutch process cocoa powder
2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips or mint chocolate bar cut into chunks
For the icing
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon green food coloring
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 tablespoons cold water

For the top
Shavings of dark chocolate

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-hole muffin pan with paper liners.

2. Using a handheld or standing mixer, whisk the eggs and sugar for 5 minutes, until pale and quadrupled in size. Add the grated sweet potato and whisk again. Whisk in the ground almonds, flour, peppermint extract, salt, cocoa powder and baking powder until they are well combined. Add the chocolate chunks or chips, and using a spatula, mix so that they are evenly distributed.

3. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake liners so that each liner is half-filled. This will give them enough space to puff up and rise to the top while baking.

4. Bake for 20 minutes. They will be somewhat flat on top rather than dome-shaped.

5. Once cooked, remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes. Transfer to the refrigerator until the cupcakes are cold. The cupcakes will need to be cold to keep the icing from sliding off.

6. While the cupcakes are baking, make the icing: With a wooden spoon or mixer, beat the butter with one heaping tablespoon of the sugar, the peppermint extract and coloring for a minute until they are all incorporated and the butter has softened slightly. Add the confectioners’ sugar one heaping tablespoon at a time, with half a teaspoon of water each time you add the sugar, and beat between each addition. Once all the sugar is added, you should have a soft green paste.

7. Ice each cold cupcake, using just over a tablespoon of frosting per cupcake. Finish by sprinkling dark chocolate shavings over the top of each one.


And, last but DEFINITELY not least, my favorite: Red Velvet Cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes
Calories per serving: 212

For the cupcakes
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup raw beets, peeled and finely grated
1 cup white flour
1/2 cup ground almonds
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon red food coloring
2 teaspoon cocoa powder
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the icing
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
4 teaspoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 medium egg white
Small pinch salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-hole muffin tray with cupcake liners.

2. In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs, sugar and salt, and using a handheld or standing mixer, beat on medium-high for about 5 minutes, until pale and doubled in size.

3. Add the grated beets, flour, ground almonds, cocoa powder and baking powder. Stir to combine.

4. Add the buttermilk and food coloring, and beat again to make sure that all the ingredients are well-incorporated.

5. Spoon batter into the cupcake liners, taking care not to fill more than two-thirds of the way up or it will overflow when cooking.

6. Bake for 30 minutes.

7. While the cupcakes are cooking, make the icing: Prepare a double boiler.

8. Place all the ingredients in the bowl of the double boiler, and stir to dissolve the sugar with a clean metal spoon for exactly 4 minutes; the mixture should be warm.

9. Remove the bowl from the heat, and beat with a hand or standing mixer on high speed, until cool and the mixture has turned into a meringue, no more than 5 minutes.

10. The mixture is ready to use when it has formed stiff peaks.

11. Pipe or spread 1 heaping tablespoon of the icing over the cooled cupcakes, and take care to ice the cakes very quickly, as the icing will start to set and is best when just made.

Check out this picture of one of the red velvet cupcakes I made using this recipe:

A good way to stop yourself from overeating is to freeze your desserts. Individually wrap your cupcakes before you ice them, then take them out one at a time when you’re ready to eat them. You can freeze them while they are iced, but they won’t last as long. Happy baking:-) (& eating!)



“”Cook Yourself Thin” Recipe Guide –” Dec. 2011. <>.


Kumai, Candice, Harry Eastwood, and Allison Fishman. Cook Yourself Thin: Skinny Meals You Can Make in Minutes. New York: Hyperion, 2009.

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Happy National Grilling Month!

July is National Grilling Month & in honor of that, this blog is full of healthy grill recipes for you to cook up! (Courtesy of & my mom)
First, is a tasty side dish or main course, Veggie Kabobs.
Only 78 calories/skewer and you can use whatever vegetables you want:-)

Also good for a main course is this honey glazed chicken. Instead of having a greasy beef burger or a mystery meat hot dog, try this for 176 calories!

Or, if you must have a burger, try this recipe instead. It’s a turkey burger, so it’s much better for you, seasoned great, so it tastes amazing:-) This is my mom’s own recipe:
1 1/4 lb Jenni-O ground turkey
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 tbsp Mrs. Dash Italian
1 tbsp minced onions
1 tsp black pepper
Form this into 5 patties and throw those on the grill for delicious burgers. Make sure to enjoy them atop a whole wheat bun:-)

Grilled fresh corn is always great as a side, as well as different types of salads. Remember, with salads not to overdo it with the dressing or toppings. Some salad dressings can add a whopping 120 calories in a mere 2 tbsp! :-O (Blog about salad do’s and don’ts coming soon!) Also, Boca makes excellent meatless burgers for those of you who are vegetarian or vegan. They have a variety of flavors and are very low in calories (70-90 calories/burger).

For a refreshing dessert on a hot day, Skinny Cow makes low fat/low calorie ice-cream in many different flavors, such as Vanilla, Chocolate, Mint, & Cookies & Cream ice cream sandwiches, Truffle bars, and individual cups in flavors like Strawberry Cheesecake & Chocolate Fudge Brownie:-) These range from 100-170 calories a piece. Also, Luigi’s makes fat free Italian Ice in Strawberry & Lemon flavors that is only 100 calories a cup! Both are great ways to stay cool AND satisfy your sweet tooth on a hot summer day:-)

Try these out & let me know what you think! Or, if you want to add to my list, don’t hesitate to email me:-)

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