Tuesday, January 8, 2008

It's Diet Time

With the start of a new year, there is the promise of starting fresh. But, unfortunately, I still drag along the remnants of last year's excesses. Specifically, all the cookies I made and, more specifically, all the cookies I ate. I know I'm not alone in this boat. I've been seeing many bloggers posting their New Year's resolutions, which invariably include something along the lines of eating more healthily.* So it would be cruel of me to taunt and tempt you with mega-calorie taste sensations of cream, butter, and chocolate, knowing that you're trying to lose weight. Instead I offer you my wisdom and counsel from my years of experience in observing and participating in diets.

Dieting tips you don't find in diet books:

1. The calories don't count if you're standing. If you eat sitting down, you're closer to the floor, hence gravity pulls those calories straight to your hips and thighs. Stand up and the calories slide straight down and off.

2. The calories don't count if you eat from the container. Never, ever plate your food. That's where the calorie compounding occurs. Take bites straight from the container. Bonus points if you don't finish the whole thing and put it back in the refrigerator (or freezer, if you're eating ice cream).

3. If you eat from the container while standing, you're actually burning calories. Eating standing up and pacing is equivalent to a 20 minute aerobic workout.

3. The calories don't count if you eat off someone else's plate. That's just tasting or sharing, so those calories totally don't count.

4. Tidying calories don't count. If you wipe up stray frosting or straighten the edge on a pie, a pan of fudge, or a cake, that doesn't count.

4. If you take a chocolate from an assortment and don't like the one you get, those calories don't count. It's just not fair that you should pay the freight for a pineapple cream when you were thinking it was maple cream. And it would be gross to spit it out. So it's only good manners to eat it. And having the discipline to practice good manners with a mouthful of pineapple cream burns calories. So you're almost at a negative calorie situation.

5. Grapefruit has the effect of negating calories, so whatever you eat at the same time as a grapefruit doesn't count. The same for Diet Coke.

6. Food eaten in the car doesn't count. You know you're not really enjoying it.

8. Broken food has no calories. The half a cookie left on a plate is calorie free, as is the chip shards in the bottom of the potato chip bag.

There, hopefully those tips will help. And if you've still got some room after all that dieting, you might try these muffins. They're low calorie and low fat, but I like them anyway. They are deliciously moist, flavorful, with the added zip of cranberries. The only problem is eating just one. Well, if you're standing up, you could probably handle two.

Pumpkin-Cranberry Muffins
adapted from Cooking Light magazine

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 large egg
2/3 cup Craisins, sweetened dried cranberries

1- Preheat oven to 375 deg. F.

2 - Place 12 paper muffin cup liners in muffin cups; coat liners with cooking spray. I used my new silicone cupcake holders on a baking tray, giving each a hit of cooking spray. They released beautifully.

3 - Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, and next 5 ingredients (through cloves); stir well with whisk and set aside.

4 - Combine granulated sugar and next 5 ingredients (through egg) in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 3 minutes). Add flour mixture to sugar mixture; beat at low speed just until combined. Fold in the cranberries.

5 - Spoon batter into prepared cups. Bake at 375 deg. F. for 25 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Remove muffins from pan immediately; place on a wire rack.

Makes 1 dozen muffins, but my muffin cups overflowed when I made just 12, so when I made this recipe again and doubled it, I had 3 extra muffins (27 total when doubled).

~ 199 calories, 3.2 g. fat, 2.8 g protein, 1.5 g fiber 1.3 g iron, and 38 mg calcium. (There, don't you feel virtuous?)

* Here's the part where Grammar Girl goes on a rant. "Healthy" is an adjective. It is not a person, place or thing. You cannot eat Healthy, unless you named your pet goat Healthy and are now going to grill her. Healthily is an adverb, modifying a verb. So you can you use that word to describe the way you eat. If Grammar Girl sees another magazine article about "eating healthy" she will go round the bend and take her side-kick, Adverb Boy, and go slap someone upside the head with a healthy brick of tofu. Please don't force an adjective to do the heavy lifting that an adverb was made for!


MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

You are a marvel Lynn! With all that wisdom on calories, it stands to reason that if I tap my food while standing (& eating all that calorie free food) I will be in a a calorie deficit! Wow how good is that!

Cakespy said...

This is a good post, Lynn! I could especially relate to *ahem* the "tidying" one.

Peabody said...

LOL! Go Lynn!
I am the evil one still posting the butter, cream and chocolate. :)
All those dieting tips were super helpful though to help me have a "healthy" diet. :P

Marcia said...

Lynn, your dieting tips are awesome! Thanks for sharing them! I loved the muffins as well.

Gretchen Noelle said...

Thanks for all the great diet tips, oh and the grammar lesson! I look forward to trying this recipe! I am looking for ways to use up leftover pumpkin puree.

Anamika:The Sugarcrafter said...

Dear Lynn
Coming to your blog for the first time. I am impressed by the content. Lot to learn.
Greetings to you from Botswana.

eatme_delicious said...

Haha these are definitely dieting tips that I would like to follow! And I definitely want to try out these muffins as the last ones I tried from your blog were so good.

Anonymous said...

Do you know if this works with home made pumpkin? Mom gave me a yogurt container full of the stuff, and the muffins sound soft enough to eat.

Chelsea said...

I will definitely be using your dieting tips this year. thanskf ro sharing!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Ha, you crack me up, Lynn!! :)

I so need to diet. But I'm so weak... Gotta try it harder. And these muffins would be a great way to start! :)

La Cuisine d'Helene said...

This was a good read. I'm still in the Holiday mood but will be starting the exercises and good eating habits soon.

WokandSpoon said...

Hehe - just goes to show that none of my calories count! And don't mention the 'D' word again!! hehe!

Gigi said...

Love it! I never giggled so much! I loved all your tips and I promise not to fail on the "Lynn Cookie Baker" diet plan.

Brilynn said...

I'm with you Lynn!

And I love the line "They're low calorie and low fat, but I like them anyway."

Anonymous said...

I already wrote down all the tips you don't find in the diet books. I should be able to lose those extra pounds following them :-p

And the recipe is great! I love pumpkin so this is going directly to my del.icio.us bookmarks!

Big Boys Oven said...

such a delightful muffins!

Ruby Red said...

Love the dieting tips! Oh, I could laugh all day!

I consider myself a Grammar Girl too, but I'm guilty of the healthly/healthily mistake. Oops. I will now correct myself and give a lecture every time someone else says "healthy" instead of "healthily"! Thanks for the wake-up call. :)

Anamika:The Sugarcrafter said...

Dear Lynn
Thank you for visiting me.I live in Botswana, where it is difficult to get cake decorating items. I have to get them from South Africa, UK or USA.
I tried to browse and here are some links. May be it will help you: http://www.justcaketoppers.com/Birthday_Cake_Toppers/Over_The_Hill/On_Strike_Sleeping_Gnome.htm

Cheryl said...

Thank you for reaffirming all the calorie beliefs I have always had. Spread the word sister!

Katie Zeller said...

I always eat my chocolates while I'm walking the dogs. There are so many negative calories I have a hard time carrying enough with me to even it all out!. I could waste away before I get back to the house!

Ann-Marie said...

You are a woman after my own heart! And since I have a lot of leftover dried cranberries from Christmas cookies, this recipe sounds like a great breakfast for the weekend. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Love the 'Lynn-slim-no gym' diet tips.
Many of those I already follow to keep my curves in tip top shape.
I do like the sound of these muffins. Are you sure the low fat, low cals won't interfere with all the eating pleasure?
You always make me have a good laugh!
Well done.

Helene said...

LOL Lynn! Brilliant! My kind of philosophy!!

Emily said...

Heh heh. I've used these pointers many-a-time. Especially the standing up one.

I'm big on edge trimming. I'll just keep slicing, and slicing, until it's perfectly even.

eatme_delicious said...

Vegetable oil in peppermint bark! I've seen recipes that have you add a bit of shortening or oil to chocolate sometimes too but I really don't like the idea of that.

Nora B. said...

This is hilarious! I esp agree with 3 & 8 ;-)

LizNoVeggieGirl said...

amen, Lynn!! your list of diet tips are entertaining and should be followed ;0) never diet, my friend!!

LizNoVeggieGirl said...

p.s. pumpkin + cranberry + muffins = perfection

Anne said...

Oh Lynn this is such a wonderful post and it really made me smile :))

The muffins looks good...when you say delicious, I believe every letter spelled out having tried some of your awesome recipes :)

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Deborah said...

That's my kind of diet!!

Katie said...

I loved your diet tips and they totally make sense!! Those muffins look yummy.

LyB said...

Go Grammar Girl and Adverb Boy! LOL! I just discovered your blog and I have to tell you, I might be spending the next few weeks going through your archives! Wonderful post!

Fruit tart said...

So many are doing away with the word 'diet' and opting for 'lifestyle change' . . . but if I follow your guidelines, there's no change to my lifestyle at all! ;-) Thanks for the grins today.

Anonymous said...

Lol that is so funny.

I'm on that diet but it doesn't seem to be working.... :(